AAA Reminds Everyone The Risk of Impaired Driving During Holiday Season

By Payton Tholstrup

Did you know that the night before Thanksgiving has earned the reputation of heavy alcohol consumption and binge drinking? It has even earned the nicknames “Blackout Wednesday” and “Drinksgiving”. Bar crawls are one of the biggest culprits behind the increase in drunk driving during Thanksgiving. Illegal drugs and prescription medications can also impair driving, adding even more to the risks to those on the road.

Shawn Steward, spokesman for AAA Kansas, shared that 49 million Americans are expected to be on the roadways during the long holiday weekend. Choosing to drive impaired not only endangers the driver, but the other millions of Americans on the road as well.

More than 830 people died in the United States in crashes involving a drunk driver from 2017 to 2021 during the Thanksgiving holiday period, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Drivers involved in fatal crashes during nighttime hours are four times as likely to be impaired compared to those involved in fatal crashes during the day.

Not only does impaired driving endanger the driver and others traveling, it also endangers law enforcement, tow truck operators, emergency responders, and more that might be working and assisting others on the road.

AAA works hard year round to educate the public on the dangers of drunk and impaired driving. They hope to reduce the number of traffic-related crashes and injuries. Below are the tips they shared for this holiday:

  • Remember buzzed driving is drunk driving.
  • Never let friends or family drive if they are impaired.
  • ALWAYS buckle up. It offers your best chance of survival in a crash.
  • If you suspect another driver is impaired, contact law enforcement right away.
  • Designate a safe and sober driver.
  • If you don’t have a designated driver, call a ride-share service.
  • If you’re hosting a holiday part, offer festive non alcoholic drink options for your guests and those that are designated drivers.
  • Get sober BEFORE getting behind the wheel. Only time works, not coffee or cold showers. Remember, it takes about one hour to burn off an average drink. Five ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1 1/2 ounces of liquor all contain the same amount of alcohol.

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