One of the country’s most beloved holidays, St. Patrick’s Day is a time when family and friends celebrate Irish American traditions. It is also one of the year’s biggest drinking holidays, right behind Mardi Gras and New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, when alcohol is being consumed during any event, there is a high level of concern for safety, as there is a dramatic increase in car accidents.
Just a few years ago, over 57 percent of Americans planned on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, with each person consuming an average of 4.2 drinks. Also:
- Spirits sales increase by over 150 percent for St. Patrick’s Day, whereas beer increases sales by over 170 percent.
- Over six billion dollars will be spent on St. Patrick’s Day throughout the globe.
- Within the four-year span of 2012 to 2016, there were 269 deaths on St. Patrick’s Day related to drunk driving. In 2016, a total of 60 people were killed by drunk drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2018, there were 73 drunk driving deaths.
- Over 30 percent of men will binge drink on the Irish holiday.
- During the hours following St. Patrick’s Day, from midnight to 6:00 a.m., almost 70 percent of fatal accidents were by a drunk driver.
- Over one-third of pedestrians killed in 2018 had a blood alcohol content (BAC) over .08 percent, the legal limit.
- Almost 40 percent of drunk drivers killed in a St. Patrick’s Day accident has a BAC over .08 percent.
Tips for Driving Safely on St. Patrick’s Day
With the amount of alcohol consumed and sheer number of people attending St. Patrick’s Day festivities, it is no wonder that car accident risk significantly increases. To help protect yourself and your loved ones, here are a few safety tips to follow this St. Patrick’s Day.
- Never drink and drive. No matter the situation, drinking and driving is never okay. Even one drink is enough to cause a driver to lose focus, cause drowsiness, and limit reaction time.
- Plan ahead. Decide before going out whether you are drinking or you are driving, because you cannot do both. If you do decide to drink, plan ahead and get a designated driver in your group. If you cannot get a designated driver, either use public transportation, a taxi service, or a ride-sharing app to make sure you and your party get home safely.
- Be a responsible host. If you are hosting a St. Patrick’s Day party, be sure to arrange rides for everyone, or offer for them to stay the night at your place. If someone is drinking and drove there, be sure to get their keys. Offer plenty of food and water to offset the effects of alcohol and stop serving alcohol a few hours before the end of the party. Again, planning ahead is crucial because you can easily make the wrong decision when you do start drinking.
- Be alert. Always keep aware on your drink and never leave it unattended, especially if you plan on going to the bars. Always go with a group of people you trust and keep an eye on them and their drinks as well. If you suspect one of your friends may drink and drive, be sure to arrange a ride and get their keys. If you see a drunk driver, call the police. This will help protect you and others from getting hit by a drunk driver.
- Drive safely. Always buckle up when getting behind the wheel; no exceptions. Safety belts are proved to save lives in a car accident and can one day save yours. Be aware of other drivers on the road as well and keep a safe distance from them. Assume other drivers have the right of way and drive as defensively as possible. You may be a sober driver, but there are likely to be drunk drivers around still.
More Spring Safety Tips
St. Patrick’s Day also marks the beginning of the spring season, when days are longer and start to warm up. And although the threat of snow and ice may be gone from winter, there are still driving hazards to be aware of, outside of St. Patrick’s Day:
- Clean up. Spring cleaning is here, and your car could probably use it after a long winter. Spring is a good time to get your car the maintenance it probably needs, as well as a check up on your tires, brakes, and battery. Be sure to clean out your car as well; loose bottles and any other debris can get lodged under the brake or gas pedal and can be dangerous.
- Allow for unexpected conditions. Although the wintery temperatures and snow are likely gone, there are a few weather hazards to be aware of in the spring. Nights do bring colder temperatures, so much so that there could be ice out in the morning after. Some left-over snow can melt and then freeze over at night, causing the roads to ice up as well. Allow yourself plenty of time on your morning commute to take your time and keep a safe distance from other drivers.
- Note the weather. There is some unexpected weather during the spring as well, such as flash floods and sudden storms. Flash floods bring flooded roads, so be careful should you be out in a storm and never drive through a flooded road. Only a few inches of moving water are needed to lift your car and move it. Be on the lookout for potholes and other road debris that worsened over the winter and have yet to be prepared.
St. Patrick’s Day and the spring season are favorite times of year for many, but this time of year does not come without hazards. St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most popular holidays of the year for partying and drinking, so if you do go out, be careful and do not drink and drive. Always pay attention and be wary of drunk drivers out that night. Finally, if you do get injured by a drunk driver or by the negligence of another person, seek medical attention and then contact a car accident lawyer right away.
Towson Car Accident Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC, Help Clients Injured by Drunk and Negligent Drivers
If you or a loved one has been injured this spring by an impaired or negligent driver, reach out to the Towson car accident lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. Our legal team will investigate the cause of the accident and secure the compensation for which you are entitled. For more information and a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 443-589-0150. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.