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Don’t count on it to protect you from a car accident this St. Patrick’s Day! As the 4th most popular drinking holiday after New Year’s, Christmas, and the 4th of July, St. Patrick’s Day is known for its alcohol-based parties—and alcohol-related car accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of fatal crashes on St. Patrick’s Day are caused by drunk driving. And this year, St. Patrick’s Day is on a Saturday in the middle of March Madness, so there may be even more drunk drivers on the road. What can you do to lesson your risk of being in an accident this March 17th?

  1. Drink your green beer or Irish whiskey at home. If you do go out, be aware that lethal drunk driving accidents are three times more likely to occur at night when visibility is low and other motorists have had more time to get drunk themselves. Consider partying during the day and calling it an early night—or take the party home when the sun goes down. At the very least, be home by midnight.
  2. Don’t drink. If you choose to be the designated driver for your friends, stick with your decision. Many times, designated drivers opt to have a drink anyway. Don’t be that person!
  3. If you do drink away from home, know your limits. For a woman, it’s not advisable to drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages in succession. For a man, the number is 5. But remember, these are averages. The majority of people who drive drunk don’t exceed the legal alcohol limit by much, and they often don’t even recognize that they are drunk. If you feel buzzed, you’re considered drunk in the eyes of the law. And while you’re at it, keep an eye on your friends. They may think they’re perfectly fine to get behind the wheel, but if they’re buzzed, don’t let them!
  4. Make a plan in advance. One of the most common reasons drunk motorists end up on the road is lack of planning. Will you take a bus, cab, or Uber to the bar or party? Or will you have a designated driver? If you do drive yourself, surrender your keys to a trusted friend who will keep them from you if they think you’ve had too much. You also might consider booking a hotel room or planning to stay with a friend or relative who will pick you up at the end of the night. FYI, if you find yourself drunk and away from home without a plan, you can use the NTHSA’s SafeRide app to book a taxi.
  5. While you’re at it, pick your route to travel to and from the festivities. Choose less traveled roads. Fewer cars means fewer chances of an accident.

Whether you drink or not on St. Patrick’s Day, use extra caution if you’re on the roads. Make sure your seatbelt is buckled, stick to the speed limit, and drive defensively. For example, drunk drivers tend to drift over lane lines, so stay as close to the right side of your lane as you can to avoid a head-on collision or being sideswiped. Keep extra distance between your car and others. Never assume you know what another driver is going to do. Be prepared for the unexpected.

If you do end up in a car accident this St. Patrick’s Day, come to the nearest Accident and Injury Chiropractic office., and we will help you get back to your old self again as quickly as possible. Have a happy St. Patrick’s Day, stay safe, and remember, we’re here for you!