Drunk driving claims the lives of thousands of people every year – hundreds of them occurring on New Year’s Day alone. It’s not just inebriated drivers who get injured either; many sober and responsible drivers find themselves victimized by drunk driving simply by driving at the wrong place at the wrong time. That doesn’t mean you should stay home on New Year’s Eve. Continue reading as we show you how to join in the festivities while still lowering your risk and better protecting yourself against the dangers that lurk on January 1st.
1. Plan Your Ride Home
Driving yourself home is never a good idea if you have been drinking even a little bit. Even small amount of alcohol can cause driver impairment – even with blood alcohol levels measuring under the legal limit. Furthermore, it can take many hours for the body to metabolize just a few drinks fully. It is important to know your personal limits, set them in advance, and understand that alcohol can also affect your ability to make sound decisions about your ride home at the end of the night. Instead of relying on yourself to get home safely after drinking, plan an alternative ride home before you arrive.
If you choose a friend to be your designated driver, be sure to pick someone you can rely on to abstain from alcohol throughout the night. If you do not know anyone willing to be your sober driver, save the number to a taxi service in your phone, or get an instant connection to a local cab service, or find a ride via Uber or Lyft.
2. Avoid Driving Altogether – Even If You’re Sober
Every year, there are many more alcohol-impaired drivers on the roads on New Year’s Eve night and the morning of New Year’s Day than nearly any other time of the year. In fact, New Year’s typically comes in second only to Thanksgiving in terms of the number of DUIs issued to drivers on U.S. roads. Unfortunately, that means all other drivers – even the sober ones – are at risk. Even if you do not sip a drop of alcohol during the evening, you cannot control the actions of drunk drivers. If you must drive, do so defensively, and always wear your seatbelt regardless of how short your drive may be.
Also, consider that New Year’s Day brings other risks to your vehicle besides drunk drivers. Every year, January 1st clocks in as the number one holiday for car theft. Mitigate your risk by only parking in a well-lit area or garage, and always locking your doors. Never leave your car running, even if you’re running into a convenience store for a minute. Most importantly, make sure your insurance will stand up to any theft or vandalism to your vehicle. Harnish Insurance Group can help you find affordable car insurance with comprehensive coverage against non-collision losses, such as theft.
3. Plan Your Party Carefully
If decide to play host for friends on New Year’s Eve, you are unlikely to be directly affected by drunk driving. However, you still have a responsibility as a party host to ensure your guests drink responsibly. In addition to alcoholic beverages, make sure plenty of non-alcoholic options are available, too. Try planning activities to keep party-goers occupied throughout the evening, and serving plenty of food to aid in alcohol metabolism.
You should also keep the number of a local cab service on hand in case someone needs a ride home. While you may not be directly responsible for the actions of your party-goers, the Insurance Information Institute reminds that you can be held liable for third-party injuries and losses caused by individuals who became intoxicated in your home. Before planning your party, speak with your insurance company or independent agent about your social host liability coverage and any exclusions or conditions that may apply to this type of claim.