For many Americans March 17th means party time as over 33 million people celebrate St Patrick’s Day with a pint of Guinness or maybe something stronger.
St Patrick’s Day is now the fourth most popular drinking holiday in the US, behind New Year’s Eve, Christmas and Independence Day, with the festivities seemingly getting more popular year-on-year, and whether you’re Irish or not doesn’t seem to matter.
Unfortunately, though, for some it is also a day that can result in errors of judgement as they choose to drink and then get behind the wheel of their vehicle to drive home.
St. Patrick’s Day might all be about drinks, food and merriment, but a DUI/DWI can bring with it misery and pain, not to mention serious consequences; including fines, jail time and even loss of driving privileges.
Over the past five years, law enforcement officers in Minnesota have made 1,192 arrests statewide, according to Minnesota Department of Public Safety, with 136 motorists arrested for drunken driving offences last year alone.
And as always, this year extra patrols will be on the lookout for drivers who have had too much to drink, making St. Patrick’s Day one of the most dangerous nights to be on the state’s roads.
So instead of driving, why not plan alternate transportation in advance? A taxi ride is just a phone call away while public transportation options are also available, some of which is free of charge.
Here are 5 ways to ensure you don’t end up with a DUI this St Patrick’s Day.
1. Conduct a Thorough Vehicle Check
Police officers are more likely to be attracted to you and your car if there is some kind of fault with it, so be sure to thoroughly inspect your vehicle before you head out to ensure all of your lights are in perfect working order, including signal lights.
2. Have Plenty of Non-Alcoholic Drinks to Hand
Obviously, drinking and driving is not the sensible option but when we are surrounded by alcohol it can be all-too-easy to give in to temptation. So make sure there are plenty of alcohol-free options for you or your designated driver to ensure they’re not reaching for a beer as the fun gets going.
3. Designate a Driver
Make sure you agree to nominate someone who will refrain from drinking alcohol so that they can do the driving safely and legally. And make sure you elect carefully as the designated driver should be prepared to NOT drink anything alcoholic for the whole day to ensure they do not receive a DUI
4. Be Careful with your Coolers
Although you or your designated driver may not have had a drink the entire day you don’t want to give the impression of over-exuberance and in the unfortunate event that you are stopped, you might be pressured to open your cooler for inspection. So make sure it is not overly full of alcohol which might appear to be an excessive amount and also try and dispose of any empty bottles and cans you might have consumed so as not to highlight just how much you might have already had.
5. Drive Normally
This might sound obvious but Law enforcement officers are taught to look for certain ‘visual cues’ on the roadways that supposedly indicate impaired driving such as driving too slowly, weaving in and out of lanes and abrupt stops. So being responsible and understanding what police look for goes a long way toward preventing a DUI or DWI during one of the biggest parties of the year.