As we prepare to celebrate a new year, let’s take a moment to plan so that we can safely enjoy 2017 all year long and not just on opening night. Here’s a sobering statistic: In 2015, nearly 1,000 people were killed on Texas roadways by drivers who were alcohol-impaired. That’s roughly a tenth of the total number of DUI fatalities nationwide.
It’s no surprise that drunk driving crashes are more common on holidays such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and Thanksgiving. While New Year’s Day consistently ranks with these holidays as one of the worst for DUI crashes, the number of incidents increases when the holiday falls on a weekend, as it does this year.
Walk the line.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to spy on yourself after a couple of drinks, it’s now possible through the magic of alcohol impairment simulation goggles. And yes, they’re available online. Google “drunk goggles.”
Medical City Lewisville purchased three sets of goggles, simulating low, moderate and high blood alcohol content (BAC). Here’s what happened when the hospital’s Manager of Trauma Services, Jennifer Turner, BSN, RN, recruited a volunteer and had her walk the line wearing the goggles.
Out on the town.
The best way to protect yourself and others is to avoid going out. But if your plans include driving, follow these tips to make it home safely.
- Designate a sober driver or hire a limo or shuttle service for the night
- Call a cab or an Uber if necessary, or try the NHTSA’s new SaferRide app, which allows users to identify their location and call a taxi or friend
- Arrange to spend the night if you’re at a hotel or friend’s house
- Confiscate the keys of friends who’ve been drinking
- Contact local law enforcement if you see an impaired driver on the road.
Host with the most.
As a conscientious host, you want your party guests to have a great time — and make it home in one piece. Turner gives these tips for throwing a fun-yet-responsible New Year’s Eve celebration.
- Planned activities like party games or door prizes engage people, make for less active consumption of alcohol and ensure that friends remember the great event long after the last piece of confetti has settled
- As guests RSVP, confirm that at least one person in each group is prepared to be the sober designated driver and/or has a plan to get home
- Provide plenty of food to keep guests from drinking on an empty stomach
- Avoid too many salty snacks, which tend to make people thirsty and drink more
- Offer non-alcoholic beverages or “mocktails” for designated drivers and others who prefer not to drink alcohol
- If preparing an alcoholic punch, use a non-carbonated base such as fruit juice; alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream faster with a carbonated base
- Have the number of a taxi service on hand for those who need a ride.
- Be ready with some clean linens so you can turn your sofa into a bed for guests who need to sleep it off
See how many of these alcohol-related trivia questions, courtesy of MADD, you can answer.
- Impairment is determined by:
a. Type of alcohol consumed
b. Amount of alcohol consumed over time
2. Which contains more alcohol?
a. 12 ounces of beer
b. 5 ounces of wine
c. 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits
d. All contain roughly the same amount of alcohol and are considered a “standard” drink
3. T or F: The average person metabolizes alcohol at the rate of about one drink per hour.
4. T or F: On average, 2 in 3 people will be involved in a DUI crash in their lifetime.
5. What will sober up a drunk person?
b. A cold shower
6. T or F: Every two minutes, someone is injured in a DUI crash.
Medical City Healthcare wishes you a safe, Happy New Year. But if you or someone in your family celebrates a bit too much, one of our many emergency locations has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.
Find a fast Medical City Healthcare ER near you.