Ask anyone, "what's the most dangerous holiday for drivers?" and New Year’s will probably be at the top of their list. The partying and drinking that accompanies New Year’s increases the chances of drunk drivers getting on the road, putting others' lives in jeopardy.
Today, we're taking a look at why exactly there are so many DUIs on New Year’s, and how drivers can stay safe over the holidays.
Why Is New Year's Eve So Dangeous?
Every year, police offices make hundreds of arrests on New Year's Eve related to drunk drivers. In Virginia alone, 34% of all traffic fatalities in 2018 were alcohol-related, and 19,790 people were convicted of DUI throughout the year.
There are a few factors that play into why New Year's Eve is so dangerous for drivers:
- People are drinking. A whopping 47% of men and 40% of women admit to binge drinking during the New Year, and that figure doesn't factor in the number of people who aren't binge drinking but still consume too much alcohol to drive safely. It's one of the most popular holidays to drink over, which makes DUIs more likely to occur.
- People are driving late at night. Driving while impaired is never safe, but it becomes even more dangerous late at night. When many people drive on New Year's, it's after midnight—often around two or three in the morning. Driving at that hour while tired and intoxicated is a recipe for disaster.
- Weather conditions aren't always good. Last but not least, snow is falling on or around New Year's in many states in the US. Accidents are more likely to happen on icy roads or when it's raining, sleeting, or snowing.
How Can I Stay Safe During New Year's?
Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to stay safe during New Year's:
- Host a party yourself. If you want to partake, hosting a party at your place is the easiest way to ensure you don't need to drive anywhere when all is said and done. If you do host a party, make sure you work with guests and help them arrange transportation. Make everyone either come with a sober designated driver (DD) or use transportation like an Uber or Taxi. Put out some non-alcoholic drinks for DDs, and consider putting together some sleeping arrangements in your living room for guests too intoxicated to drive so people can crash at your place until they're sober.
- If you go to a party, go with a DD. If you take your car, give the keys to the DD once you arrive at the party. Make sure the DD is sober before you leave—if there's any question, call an Uber or Taxi and come back for your car when you're sober, or sleep where the party is.
- If you're a DD, try and be extra aware of other cars on the road when you're driving. If you go to a house party, you may want to grab a quick nap or a coffee before you hit the road to help yourself remain alert. Look out for cars drifting in and out of lanes, driving without lights on, speeding, or making sudden movements. If you see a driver you believe is impaired, pull over to the side of the road until they're not near you anymore. Also be sure to check oncoming traffic regularly—sometimes, drunk drivers cross lane dividers.
If you or someone you know is arrested for a DUI, we can help. Our experienced DUI attorneys can help you find the best path forward in your case.
Contact The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller online or via phone at (757) 267-4949 to receive legal counsel from experienced DUI lawyers in Virginia.