In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is a religious holiday. In the U.S., it's primarily a day to wear green, pinch those who are not and, very often, imbibe to excess. That is, of course, all a matter of the individual reveler's personal choice — until he or she decides to get behind the wheel of a car. That's where the fun ends and a potentially deadly situation begins. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 105 people died in drunken-driving crashes on St. Patrick's Day in 2012.
To ensure your own safety and that of those around you today, NHTSA has provided a number of safety recommendations. Heed the following tips and with any of that ol' proverbial Irish luck, the worst thing that happens to you this St. Paddy's Day will be that your teeth turn green from the food coloring in your beer.
- Before celebrating, plan your way home.
- Designate a sober driver in advance and leave your keys at home.
- If you're impaired, call a taxi, sober friend or family member, or use public transportation or community sober-driver program if available.
- If you see a drunken driver on the road, call the police. You could save a life.
- If you know someone who is about to drive drunk, take their keys and help them make arrangements to get home safely.
Also, if you're hosting a party:
- Serve plenty of food and nonalcoholic drinks.
- Stop serving alcohol and start serving, for example, coffee a few hours before the end of the party.
- Keep the phone number of local taxi services on hand.
- Remember that you can be held liable if someone you served winds up in a drunken-driving accident.
- Never provide alcohol to a minor.