Insurance Advisor at Oliver L.E. Soden Agency, Inc

4 Tips for Safe Driving on New Year's Eve

Traffic tickets and moving violations can cause your car insurance rates to rise. More serious offenses, such as DUIs or reckless driving, can cause you to lose your license. While no one deliberately goes out and plans to get into trouble, the excitement of the holidays can put you in unfortunate circumstances. You don’t want one night to change your life, so it’s important to plan ahead.


According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the percentage of highway deaths related to alcohol increase around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. It’s estimated that 48% of highway deaths on New Year’s Eve are related to alcohol. To help spread awareness and promote safe, sober driving, December is designated as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.


Below are four tips for safe driving this New Year’s holiday.


1. Plan Ahead


If you’re attending a party where you’ll be drinking, plan ahead for how you will get home. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get home safely. The obvious choice is having a responsible designated driver. If you don’t have a DD, opt for a cab or ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft. Wait times and rates will be higher because of the holiday, but it’s a lot less trouble than hiring a lawyer for having a DUI on your record.


2. Drink Responsibly


Even if you’re not planning on driving home, it’s smart to drink responsibly. Reach for non-alcoholic drinks. They can be fun and tasty, too! You can also stop drinking at a certain time and have a cup of coffee. If you plan to drink but want to stay at the legal limit, usually one drink every two hours is ok. However, each person is different, so this is not a general rule. Remember, one drink is 12 ounces of regular beer (not craft beer), 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.


3. Review Your Medications


Some medications can cause drowsiness and compromise your ability to drive. If you’re taking any medications, review them before you go out for the night. It’s a good idea to know what types of medicines you can get sleepy on, and which ones shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol. Also, watch for over-the-counter medicines, such as cold medicines, that can have side effects. Sometimes, people take these medicines when they're out, not realizing the list of potential effects.


4. Don’t Rely on Breathalyzers


Some people have a false sense of security by using a home breathalyzer. They might carry them in their purse or pocket and do a quick blow before getting into a vehicle. However, home breathalyzers are known for being inaccurate, so you could have a higher BAC than what you’re seeing. It also takes 20 minutes or longer for the body to absorb alcohol, so you could be on your way home when the alcohol “hits” you.


Bottom line: If you plan on driving home, don’t drink. No one ever regrets taking the safest route home!