While kids are out trick-or-treating for sweets on All Hallow’s Eve, adults will be celebrating with treats of their own. Alcoholic treats, that is. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying Halloween-themed cocktails, from festive Pumpkin Martinis to creepy Eyeball Punch, drinking and driving could potentially make haunted house horrors and nightmare-inducing ghost stories look like fairy tales.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 52% of all traffic fatalities that occurred on Halloween night from 2007 through 2011 involved drunk drivers. In 2011 alone, 38% of Halloween night traffic fatalities involved a driver or motorcyclist with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.
It’s ok to treat yourself to an alcoholic beverage or two at a Halloween bash or to calm your nerves with a cocktail during a scary movie marathon, but if you do, make sure you treat yourself to a designated driver, too. Choose someone who is responsible, trustworthy, tolerant of intoxicated people, immune to peer pressure, and genuinely cares about your safety. He or she should also be an experienced driver with a clean driving record.
If you’ve been appointed the job, follow these tips for being a good designated driver:
- Choose an agreed upon time to leave and a place to meet up. Make sure everyone is accounted for before leaving the party and never leave anyone behind.
- Don’t drink any alcohol. One sip can easily turn into a drink, then two drinks, and so on. Drink your favorite alcoholic beverages without the alcohol or any other non-alcoholic drink you’d like.
- Stay alert and keep an eye out for your passengers while at the party. Alcohol poisoning can be just as deadly as drinking and driving, so make sure your friends are pacing themselves and getting plenty of food and water.
- Don’t let your friends accept drinks from others. Someone could easily slip something into their drink at a crowded bar or party. Make sure your friends get all their drinks themselves or directly from the bartender and watch for signs of predatory drugs, such as confusion, difficulty standing, and slurred speech.
- Look out for party goers without a designated driver. If someone has been drinking and plans to drive, don’t hesitate to grab their keys. Help them find a safe ride home or, if you have the room, offer them a ride.
Don’t have a designated driver and find yourself impaired? Call a cab or a nearby sober friend or family member, take the bus, or call your community’s safe ride program. Even if you have a designated driver, it’s always safe to have money and appropriate phone numbers on hand.