As holiday lights brighten the streets, December ushers in a season of celebrations and social events. These festivities also bring an uptick in alcohol use, which leads to a rise in concerns about impaired driving and accidents. To address this, December is recognized as National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.

Nationwide, the Christmas and New Year’s holiday periods in 2020 saw 209 fatalities due to drunk driving. In the entire month of December that same year, there were 937 fatalities involving an impaired driver.

By planning carefully and making responsible choices, you can help prevent these tragic events. Here are some helpful safety tips to make your holiday season fun and safe, creating cherished memories for the right reasons.

How to Stay Safe While Having Fun During the Holidays

Holiday festivities can be a blast, even without a “buzz.” The following are a few ideas for celebrating responsibly this holiday season:

  • Enjoy festive mocktails. Sip on creative, holiday-themed mocktails as a fun and safe alternative to alcohol. Choose from options like sparkling cranberry-apple cider or non-alcoholic eggnog. These let you enjoy the holiday spirit without alcohol.
  • Pace yourself. If you choose to drink alcohol, take it slow and pace yourself. Stay hydrated by drinking water in between alcoholic beverages, and make sure you have some food in your stomach. This can minimize the alcohol’s effects by allowing your body to metabolize it over a longer period.
  • Prepare for social pressure. Keep some polite yet firm responses ready for moments when you might feel pressured to drink. Phrases like “I’m taking it easy tonight” or “I’m good with what I have, thanks” can help you stay in control while keeping the mood light.
  • Engage in activities. Participate in games, strike up interesting conversations, or hit the dance floor. Keeping active can help distract from the temptation to overindulge.
  • Set a limit. Make a pre-event decision on the number of drinks you’ll have. Stick to this limit to enjoy the festivities while staying mindful of your intake.
  • Try flavored water. Drink flavored sparkling water as another non-alcoholic choice. It’s refreshing, keeps you hydrated, and can be just as satisfying as a cocktail.

Ways to Get Home Safe if You Do Drink

Never get behind the wheel after drinking, even if you feel okay to drive. Even small amounts of alcohol can impair focus, coordination, judgment, and reaction time, regardless of the legal limit.

Consider these options for getting home safely without getting behind the wheel:

  • Use a ride-sharing service. Apps like Uber or Lyft provide a convenient option for a safe ride home. You may even be able to get discounted service through sober ride programs in your area.
  • Call a taxi. If you don’t use Uber or Lyft, call a cab to pick you up and drive you home safely.
  • Public transportation. Consider using city buses as a convenient option, especially when they align with your schedule.
  • Designated driver. Plan ahead and ask a friend or family member who plans to stay sober to drive you home.
  • Stay overnight. If you’re at a friend’s house or a location where you can sleep over, stay put until you’re sober. 

Tips for Spotting and Reporting Drunk Drivers

Spotting and reporting drunk drivers is a community responsibility that can save lives. Here are some tips on identifying potential drunk drivers and what actions to take to report them.

Signs of drunk driving include:

  • Inconsistent lane position, such as weaving or drifting
  • Irregular speed patterns, including unexplained speeding up or slowing down
  • Unusual stops, like abrupt halts or lingering too long at traffic lights
  • Delayed responses to traffic signals and signs
  • Inconsistent use of turn signals
  • Tailgating and abrupt lane changes

If you observe a suspected drunk driver in Indianapolis, you can report the incident by calling 911. When you call, be prepared to provide specific details such as the vehicle’s make, model, and license plate number, your current location, and the direction the suspected vehicle is traveling. You can also contact your local Indianapolis Police Department to report your suspicions.

If you’re hurt in a crash with an intoxicated driver, speak with an Indiana drunk driving crash injury lawyer who can help you understand your next steps and protect your rights to a fair settlement.

Get Compensation for an Alcohol-Related Car Accident

If the holiday season takes a devastating turn due to the actions of a drunk driver, our Indiana car crash lawyers at Wagner Reese can provide legal guidance.

Our experienced attorneys can help you gather evidence, file a claim, and receive compensation so you can focus on healing and being with family. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.