This weekend, people across the nation will celebrate Memorial Day with picnics, pool parties, and backyard barbecues. Many people will also celebrate the long weekend with alcohol. In fact, Memorial Day weekend is one of the deadliest times of the year for being on the road due to drunk driving.
According to an infographic created by the National Safety Council (NSA) using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Memorial Day holiday has the second highest alcohol-related traffic deaths per day, after the July 4th holiday. From 2008 through 2012, there were an average of 135 traffic fatalities during Memorial Day weekend. 55 of those fatalities were drunk driving related.
Stay safe this Memorial Day weekend by following a few driving safety tips:
- Plan a safe ride home ahead of time. If you plan on drinking, designate a sober driver, bring money and a phone number for a cab, check your local bus schedule, or see if your community has a safe ride program.
- Don’t drink and drive. If you drink without planning ahead, don’t get behind the wheel. Use any of the safe alternatives listed above, see if you can catch a ride with a sober party-goer, ask your hosts if you can stay the night or at least until you’re sober, or see if a nearby sober friend or family member can pick you up.
- Drive safe. Try to avoid driving on Memorial Day weekend. If you must drive, your best defense against drunk drivers is to practice safe driving behaviors. Buckle up, stay alert, avoid distractions, follow the speed limit and other traffic laws, and pay attention to other drivers on the road. Stay away from vehicles that appear to be occupied by a drunk driver.
And remember, law enforcement officials across the country will be increasing enforcement efforts throughout the weekend, so driving sober will not only keep you and other road users safe but save you from a DUI.