What are your New Year’s Eve plans?  A lot of people are going to go to a party or hit the bars.  Maybe you prefer to kick back on the couch, watch the ball drop and get a smooch at midnight.  Or maybe you’re going to hit the hay around 8:00 like my grandparents used to do.

Whatever it is you plan to do, a lot of people will be drinking on New Year’s Eve.  Nobody plans to get a DUI, much less hurt or kill themselves or someone else, but the sad fact is that this time of year is one of the most dangerous due to drinking and driving.

New Year’s Eve/Day was, surprisingly, only the seventh most deadly day in regards to vehicular accidents a few years ago.  (Top honors go to our nation’s birthday.)  It is, however, the most deadly day for pedestrians, with about half of the fatalities involving alcohol.  Of that, about a third involved the pedestrian being the one who was intoxicated.

Think about that for second.  On New Year’s Eve, more pedestrians are killed by cars than any other day, including Halloween, when we wander the streets in the dark while our faces are covered with masks, and much of that is due to the consumption of alcohol.

To get an idea of how much worse fatalities are during the holiday season, you only have to take a look at the numbers.  This country sees an average of 36 fatalities that involve a drunk driver on a daily basis.  During the Christmas season, that number jumps to 45 fatalities every day, and at New Year’s it climbs even higher to 54.  During most of December, the average percentage of vehicular deaths involving alcohol is 28.  Throughout the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, that jumps to 40%.

These numbers can be scary, but there are things you can do to help stay safe if you are planning on going out (and coming home) on New Year’s Eve.  First, if you’re going to drink, make sure you’re not alone.  A designated driver can not only get you home safely, but if you’re bar hopping downtown they can keep you from stumbling out into the street in front of an oncoming vehicle.

If the DD plan doesn’t work out, whether everyone feels like drinking or the DD unknowingly drinks a little too much spiked punch, call a ride.  There are so many options these days, from cabs to Uber to Lyft.

Whatever it is you plan to do this New Year’s Eve, be smart and stay safe.

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