Army Substance Abuse Program
U.S. Army Garrison, Stuttgart, Germany
The holiday season brings a host of parties, gatherings, and work functions even in light of COVID. In many of these celebrations, the alcohol flows freely, which can contribute to an increase in drunk driving accidents. These accidents can lead to serious injuries, deaths, and a many other undesirable consequences, especially if you’re the drunk driver.
German law deals harshly with driving under the influence. During the holiday season and year-round, U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Army Substance Abuse Program officials urge community members to take steps to make sure that they and everyone they celebrate with avoids driving under the influence of alcohol.
Observe these tips to avoid and prevent drunk driving accidents and to enjoy a safe holiday season:
DESIGNATE A DRIVER
Alcohol-related crashes lead to injuries and deaths each year – in fact, drunk driving accidents lead to a death about once every 48 minutes in the United States. The easiest way to prevent drunk driving accidents is to talk among your friends and designate a driver. This driver should stick to water or soda throughout the evening – remember, “buzzed” driving is the same as drunk driving. It’s best to avoid alcohol altogether if you’re the one providing transportation.
BE A CAUTIOUS HOST OR HOSTESS
If you’re hosting a party, it’s your responsibility to make sure everyone makes it home safely. Don’t force drinks on people who don’t want to continue drinking, because they might accept them out of politeness. Invite people to sleep over and call cabs for people who insist on going home. It can be difficult to know for certain if people are OK to drive. Even those above the legal limit might not display many symptoms. If you’re in doubt about a person’s ability to drive, play it safe and arrange for alternative transportation.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR DRUNK DRIVERS
Even you if take every precaution to prevent drunk driving, you can’t account for everyone’s actions. About 4 million people have admitted to driving drunk at least once, and an increase in parties around the holiday season may mean your chances of sharing the road with a drunk driver increase. Be on the lookout for telltale signs of drunk driving, which include:
- Abrupt driving, such as speeding up and slowing down
- Slamming on the brakes unexpectedly
- Driving more than 10 miles per hour under the speed limit
- Drifting in and out of lanes
- Turning more widely than normal
If you notice any of these symptoms, give them a wide berth and don’t try to stop them yourself. Instead, call 112 and provide enough information for the police to catch up with them – for example, describe in which direction they were heading and provide a description of the vehicle.
It’s essential to not make the decision to drink and drive, but there are also things you can do to reduce your risk of injury on the road. Be on the lookout for the telltale signs of drunk driving and alert the local authorities. When heading out on the town or to a holiday party, designate a driver and don’t pressure people into drinking if they don’t want to. Remember, your decisions can make a huge impact on someone else’s life. By following these tips, you can make the road safer for yourself and others. Have a safe and happy holiday season!
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