It's no secret that law enforcement officers arrest more drivers for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and illegal substances over holidays such as July 4th than at any other time of year. As we round the corner to July 4th, understanding why DUIs are so common (and measures you can take to avoid drunk drivers) can help you stay safe.
At Lettario & Haug, LLP, we offer high-quality DUI defense services. If you or someone you know is facing DUI charges, you can schedule a consultation with our team by contacting us online or via phone at (845) 203-0997.
Why Are DUIs So Common Over the Holidays?
We can pinpoint a few reasons why DUIs are so prevalent over the holidays:
- People like to drink during special occasions. Once coolers come out and alcohol starts being consumed, the chance of DUIs occurring increases.
- People make worse decisions when they're drunk. Alcohol removes inhibitions, increasing the likelihood of intoxicated individuals making poor decisions. The same person who may attend a party fully intent on getting a taxi back home or sleeping over at the host's may get in their car and try to drive home drunk because the alcohol blunts their self-awareness.
- The kids are out of school (and back home). Both college and high school students typically get multiple breaks over the holidays. At high school parties, peer pressure may encourage kids to drink (and subsequently, to try and drive home without getting caught). College students may want to blow off steam with a boozy party to celebrate the end of finals exams. Both scenarios lend themselves to drunk drivers.
- There are more law enforcement officers on the roads. Finally, most states (New York included) make a concerted effort to catch (and stop) drunk drivers over the holidays. An increased number of DUI checkpoints and speed traps can make it appear as though an even greater number of people are committing DUIs compared to other times of the year.
What Can I Do to Stay Safe?
If you want to stay safe over the holidays, there are a few things you can do:
- Make a designated driver (DD) a fixture in your holiday plans. For any party you go to—even those where you don't intend to drink—you should have a DD to rely on. Give them your keys when you arrive, and don't let them drive you home unless you (and hopefully another sober person) can verify they're sober. If you can't find a DD, either grab a ride using something like a Taxi or an Uber, or find someplace you can crash (like a hotel) within walking distance of the party. If you drink, you should not attempt to walk somewhere alone—ask a sober friend to escort you. Police departments also regularly offer escorts for drunk individuals over the holidays, so check in with your department and see if they can help you get home safely.
- Host your own party. If you want to reduce your chances of committing a DUI (or getting hit by a drunk driver) to zero, try hosting your own holiday parties. Of course, that means you also need to look after your guests. You should:
- Require every guest to have a DD with them before they can attend the party;
- Collect keys from your guests as they come in, and refuse to let them leave unless a sober person is at the wheel;
- Set aside some space on your floor for drunk guests to hit the sack until they're sober;
- Prepare snacks and encourage guests to eat between drinks, so they don't get too drunk;
- Prepare fun non-alcoholic beverages for the DDs, so they get to enjoy themselves as well.
It may be more work, but hosting your own parties can help you stay safe during the holidays (and, of course, have a great time with your friends, family, and loved ones).
- If you're driving, be careful. Drunk or otherwise intoxicated drivers are out in force over the holidays, particularly late at night. Some measures you can take to avoid drunk drivers include:
- Take the back roads. The fewer drivers you're around, the safer you are.
- Look out for erratic drivers. If you see a driver swerving or behaving strangely, don't try and drive by them. Pull over wherever it's safe to do so (keep your lights on and consider putting on your hazard lights to make yourself visible), and wait for the erratic driver to get far away from you. The further, the better.
- Keep an eye out for cars that aren't using lights. If you're on a road with low visibility, consider turning on your brights to spot drivers more easily. Drunk drivers often forget to turn on their lights, making them incredibly dangerous. The more you can do to spot lightless cars in advance, the better.
- Keep an eye on oncoming traffic. Drunk drivers sometimes veer off their side of the road. Try and pay attention to how any approaching cars are driving so you can pull over or avoid erratic drivers.
- Make sure you're awake. Driving while tired is almost as dangerous as driving while drunk. If you need to grab a coffee or a nap (preferably the latter) to be more aware while you're on the road, don't be afraid to do so. Your safety is more important than timeliness.
There you have it! A rundown on why driving over the holidays is so dangerous, and some tips for how you can keep yourself (and your loved ones) safe.
At Lettario & Haug, LLP, we can help represent you or another individual facing DUI charges in court.
Contact us online or via phone at (845) 203-0997 to schedule a consultation with our team.