After spending the day drudging away at the office, after-work happy hour can be a fun way to relax and bond with your co-workers in an informal, non-work environment. Spending time with your co-workers outside of the office can be beneficial and promote team spirit, but alcohol can quickly turn a fun night out into a nightmare.
While you might intend to have only a drink or two during happy hour and might even have a safe ride home planned, the combination of socializing and reduced drink prices available during a short window of time can easily turn one or two drinks into full-on binge drinking.
A pattern of drinking that quickly brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08, binge drinking can lead to unintentional injuries from falls and other accidents, intentional injuries from sexual assault and other violent behavior, hospitalization and even death from alcohol poisoning, unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases from a mistake in judgment or sexual assault, and liver disease, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems.
And, of course, happy hour can lead to DUI arrest if you drive home after having too much to drink. You also risk injuring or killing yourself and others by getting behind the wheel while impaired. According the the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 10,000 people die every year in drunk driving-related traffic crashes.
In an effort to reduce drunk driving, the NHTSA created the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which raises awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving and increases drunk driving enforcement and designates no-refusal weekends during holidays and certain times of year that are known for their high drunk driving fatality rate. One way that the NHTSA raises awareness of the dangers and consequences of drunk driving is through TV ads that create situations almost anyone can relate to, such as the “Co-Workers” ad.
Avoid arrest, injury, or even death while still having a good night out with friends and co-workers by following these safety tips:
- Never drink and drive
- Plan a non-alcohol happy hour, such as after-work tea or coffee
- Organize an after-work social hour based around an activity that doesn’t involve alcohol, such as hiking or walking, bowling, cooking classes, or any other activity that interests you and your co-workers, promotes team building, and helps you relax
- Make sure everyone who plans on drinking has planned a safe way home or designate a responsible, sober driver to drive everyone home after happy hour
- Take away the keys of a friend or coworker who is about to drive while impaired and help him or her find a safe ride home
- Limit yourself to one or two alcoholic beverages, drink slowly, eat plenty of food, and drink lots of water