It can be easy to indulge in a cocktail or two during the holidays, but it's important to stay safe through preventing impaired driving.
What is considered impaired driving?
- A blood alcohol level at or above 0.08%
- People under age 21 must follow “zero tolerance” laws which means they cannot have any alcohol in their system
- Use of any illegal substances
- Use of prescribed medications that can affect your thinking such as anti-anxiety or sleep medication
- Distracted driving (eating, talking, texting, etc.)
The best way to prevent situations that involve driving impaired is to create an action plan.
- Determine a designated sober driver.
- Be conscious. If you notice someone who is impaired do not allow them to drive.
- Unintended plans? Find a ride a home or call for a taxi or uber.
- Hosting a party? Be sure that your guests leave with a sober driver or contact a ride for them. Before the party, encourage your guests to designate a sober driver or use driving services.
- Determine ahead of time where there are rest stops to read text messages or look at your phone.
How do I defend against drunk drivers?
- Buckle your seatbelt - Statistics show seatbelts save lives. Not wearing a seatbelt can increase your risk of injury.
- Maintain your distance - Not driving close behind another car will allow you to notice if someone is driving recklessly.
- Be extra careful at ALL intersections - Intersections are hotspots for impaired drivers as they do not follow road signs or traffic signals.
- Avoid late nights and holidays - The majority of accidents occur either late at night after a party or during holidays.
- Volunteer to be the designated driver.
- Don’t report the police - Police check points are set up to protect us. Notifying family or friends can allow for word of mouth to spread to others. This will not allow the police to do their job!
How do I know if I'm impaired?
The response to alcohol can vary from person to person and can be dependent on different aspects such as age, sex, and weight. Below are some estimates of changes in the body after a certain number of drinks, but is important to know that impairment begins after even 1 drink!
- After 1-2 drinks, you can feel relaxed, lose judgement, or find it hard to multitask
- After 3 drinks, you can have less alertness, and loss of small-muscle control like your eyes, and reduced coordination
- After 4 drinks, you can lose concentration, speed control, and have short-term memory loss
- After about 5 drinks, you can have slurred speech and slowed thinking
- After about 7 or more drinks, you can lose muscle control and balance
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