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Tips to Ring in the New Year Safely

December 31, 2016

Traffic Safety

Every day in the United States, nearly 30 people are killed in crashes that are related to drunk driving, while hundreds more are injured. The risk of sharing the road with a drunk driver is even more probable on holidays, like New Year’s. In actuality, New Year’s is the most dangerous time of the year on our nation’s roadways, in terms of drunk driving. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) discovered that an average of 118 motorists are killed every New Year’s Day in the U.S., four times more than the average day.

As millions of Americans celebrate holidays and events this year, it is important to remember the safety precautions drivers and partygoers should take during any festivities. Please read these quick tips to help minimize drunk-driving risks this New Year’s:

  1. Have a designated driver: If there’s any chance that you will drink, don't anticipate driving – even if it’s a short distance. Designate a sober driver before the party starts by calling a taxi, a sober friend or family member, public transportation or by downloading a ridesharing service app. Some transportation services may even offer discounted or free rides. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has created a listing of sober/safe ride programs across the country. Find one in the area you plan to celebrate in and save the number.

  1. Leave your keys: When you know you’ll be drinking, be sure to leave your car keys at home or give them to someone responsible.
  2. Don’t walk home impaired: Designate a sober friend or family member to help walk you home because impaired walking can be as dangerous as impaired driving.
  3. Stay off the roads: Drinking and driving car accidents are highest between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m., so try and stay off the roads during those hours.
  4. Drive defensively: When it is safe to do so, be sure to contact your local law enforcement if you notice a drunk driver on the road. As always, wear your seat belt and don’t drive distracted.
  5. Take the keys: If you notice someone at the party is planning to drive while impaired, take their keys and help get them home safely. More tips on preventing someone from driving impaired can be found at:
  6. If you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party, adhere to the following safety suggestions:
  • Be sure to designate sober rides to your guests prior to the start of your party.
  • Serve non-alcoholic beverages for your guests along with plenty of food so your guests can have something in their stomachs besides just alcohol.
  • Stop serving alcohol well before the party ends.
  • Be sure there is plenty of space for your guests to stay the night if they wish to stay off the roads.

Where ever you go and however you spend the holiday, AAA Southern Pennsylvania wants to wish you a safe and happy New Year’s!