St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that celebrates Ireland and people all over the world with Irish descent. However, it has also become an unofficial drinking day. Besides community parades, folklore and stories, and Irish dance and music performances around the country, St. Patrick’s Day is known for a day of drinking.
Pub crawls and other special events at bars and restaurants are popular activities in many communities on St. Patrick’s Day. Alcohol and cars is a bad combination, but it is likely that people will be driving to those events, and many of them will be drinking while they are there. According to data from WalletHub, about three out of four fatal drunk driving car accidents on St. Patrick’s Day involve a driver who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) level that is twice over the legal limit.
Many people were wary of holiday celebrations over the last few years due to the coronavirus pandemic keeping people at home. However, restrictions have lifted and eased, so holiday events may be much more popular this year. It is estimated that over half of Americans plan on celebrating the holiday.
Because of alcohol-related St. Patrick’s Day events, police ramp up street patrols around the holiday, conducting sobriety checkpoints and traffic stops on the road. Breathalyzers may be used at these stops. Depending on the community, police may ask a driver to take a breathalyzer test, or they may conduct a field sobriety test.
Coming up with a game plan for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day festivities is important. Here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself on St. Patrick’s Day.
Choose a Designated Driver Before You Head Out
You may be out this St. Patrick’s Day with a large group. If one person volunteers to stay sober for the night and get everyone home, that designated driver is stepping up to protect the lives of others in the group and others on the road.
A good way to thank the designated driver for taking this on is to pay their fare for the night and cover the costs of their non-alcoholic drinks and food.
Have an Alternate Plan
Having an alternate plan is a good idea on a holiday that centers so much around drinking. If the designated driver decides to indulge in a few drinks, do not get a ride home from that person. Call a friend or family member, or you can call a cab or use a rideshare service.
Use a Rideshare Service
Using a rideshare service is another way you can stay safe this St. Patrick’s Day, especially if you plan on drinking. Download the rideshare app on your phone and set up a ride to the event and a ride back.
Use Public Transportation
If you are familiar with the route to get home and pick-up and drop-off areas are close by to the event and your house, take public transit. This is a great way to avoid getting behind the wheel, and it is less expensive than most of the other options.
Communities and local restaurants and bars are aware of the drunk driving incidents and often offer rides for those participating in events. This will provide a ride to and from the event to a central location, which is likely a good spot to catch a ride home.
Plan to Stay Overnight Near the Event
Renting a hotel room nearby may seem like a ridiculous expense, but a crashed car, fines, jail time, and loss of driver’s license are much more expensive. Remember to go with a place within a quick walking distance, as drunk pedestrians are also often involved in accidents.
What If I am the Designated Driver for the Night?
If you are the designated driver this year for St. Patrick’s Day, you should consider the following:
- No intoxicating substances. A sober person is one who has not consumed any alcohol or drugs, so avoid all intoxicating substances, legal or not. You need a clear mind to get everyone home safely.
- Watch out for your friends. Staying sober gives you an advantage to help friends who are not. So, if you see a drunk friend trying to get behind the wheel to drive home, take their keys. Also, keep an eye out for friends who leave their drinks unattended. It is easy to put something in someone’s drink if they are not paying attention.
- Check passengers in your car to make sure they are not bringing alcoholic drinks or drugs home. If you are stopped, this can lead to fines and jail time. Because intoxicated people may not even realize they are holding a drink, it is up to you, the sober person, to act quickly to prevent this.
- Drive slowly and carefully. Intoxicated people may be crossing the road, jaywalking, riding a bike, or driving a car nearby. All of these activities are hazards, and you can avoid them by driving slowly and being vigilant on the trek home.
- Take less traveled roads. If at all possible, avoid the main drags where bars and events are and drive on side roads or smaller roads. Where there are less cars, there are fewer chances of coming across drunk drivers.
Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Help You After a St. Patrick’s Day Accident
It is critical that you drive safely on St. Patrick’s Day if you plan to attend an event. It is even more important to find a sober ride if you plan to drink. However, you cannot guarantee that other motorists will be responsible on the holiday. If you have been injured in a drunk driving collision, our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. Call us at (302) 427-9500 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.