St. Patrick’s Day is approaching, and the green beer will be flowing. If a few pints of Guinness are in your holiday plans, there are steps you can take to ensure that driving under the influence won’t be a part of your celebration.

Drive Safely

Before heading out for St. Patrick’s Day festivities, make a plan for how anyone in your party who’s been drinking will get home. One popular option is to appoint a designated driver. Kathryn Henry from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advises, “Designate a sober driver anytime you’re getting together and partaking of alcohol.”

A cab ride or public transportation can also get you home safely. Look up taxi company phone numbers or bus schedules ahead of time, so you have the information you need on hand.

Waiting until morning to go home is another way to avoid driving under the influence. For a party in someone’s home, ask if you can spend the night there. If the party you are attending is in a hotel, be proactive and book a room for the night.

Watch Vigilantly

“Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.” It’s an old saying, but it’s still true. Keep an eye on the other people with whom you’re celebrating, and do whatever it takes to stop anyone from driving under the influence.

Henry encourages prevention as a first step. She suggests, “If possible, prevent the friend from getting drunk in the first place.” It’s hard to reason with a drunk person, so if you can encourage her to avoid drinking excessively, things may be easier on everyone in the long run.

Trying to stop an intoxicated person from driving can provoke angry reactions. Keep your tone light and calm, and try to avoid a scene that will embarrass your friend. Explaining that you just want your friend and others on the road to be safe can soften the blow.

If the person insists on driving, ask a few others to help you talk to him or her. Sometimes just making it a group effort can do the trick.

If reasoning with your friend doesn’t sway him or her, you may have to resort to stronger measures. First, try to take away the car keys. If that fails, you might try physically restraining your friend or removing a car tire. As a last resort, call the police. No matter what it takes, in order to save lives, it’s crucial to prevent drunk driving.

Host Responsibly

If you host a St. Patrick’s Day celebration that involves alcohol, do your part to get your guests home safely. Serve a good selection of food and non-alcoholic beverages, so guests aren’t drinking on an empty stomach. However, salty snacks can make guests thirstier, thereby drinking more, so offer more than just chips and pretzels.

Put the alcohol away 1.5 to two hours before the end of the party. This gives people time to sober up before heading home. Entice guests to stick around even after the alcohol’s been put up by serving dessert and coffee at this time.

See to it that none of your guests drive home under the influence. Make sure that some designated drivers are on hand to provide rides home. Before the party, research cab companies, so you have numbers on hand to call if necessary. If nothing else, let people crash on your couch until they’re in better shape to drive.

At last [wine] biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Proverbs 23:32

The Bible cautions that drinking, especially excessive drinking, can have significant repercussions. One of the most devastating of those is car accidents caused by drunk drivers. Henry warns that driving under the influence can be “deadly for the person drunk and more often, the innocent victim who dies because someone chose to drive drunk.”

Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself and your friends from getting behind the wheel while impaired. Planning ahead for a safe celebration can save many lives.

What tips do you have for safe driving on St. Patrick’s Day?

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