December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month. You have a part to play in keeping everyone safe while attending holiday gatherings.
Stay safe: Plan for Holiday Parties before leaving
As the holiday season gains momentum, so does the accident rate for drivers and pedestrians, which is why December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. At this time of year, it is important to get behind the wheel only while in a sober, proper state of mind. According to the National Safety Council, over 40,000 people died in alcohol-related traffic accidents last year.
Alcohol-impaired driving crashes—which includes being under the influence of substances to distracted driving to speeding—increase throughout December as holiday travel increases. It’s not just alcohol, either. Many substances can impair driving, including marijuana, opioids, methamphetamines, or even over-the-counter medications.
You can prevent tragedy this holiday season
· Understand the risks of impaired driving
· Don’t believe myths about ‘sobering up’
· Make plans before even attending a holiday party
As individuals, we look forward to getting together with friends and family to celebrate the holidays. It’s also a time when Prevention can play an especially important role. The good news is that prevention works. As we come together this holiday season, educate yourself and others on the risks of driving while impaired and take steps to stay safe. There are no shortcuts to “sobering up” and preparing to drive; coffee is not a cure-all, and even slowing or stopping drinking an hour or more before driving does not mean the impairment of alcohol has ‘worn off.’
Plan on having conversations ahead of time, before event leaving for party. Communicate honestly with your children, friends, family members, and colleagues about expectations of behavior and safe choices when attending holiday events, whether they take place in someone’s home (where some can perceive the rules are a bit more flexible) or at a public venue. Also, encourage use of ride-sharing services for gatherings where alcohol will be served and check in with guests if you’re hosting to see if they need a ride. With planning, you can eliminate a spontaneous decision to drive.
If we practice prevention to keep ourselves and our communities safe, the holidays can be full of the joy we expect them to be!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FORT BELVOIR
For more information, contact Fort Belvoir ASAP:
Fort Belvoir Army Substance Abuse Program
5815 20th Street, Bldg. 213
Fort Belvoir, Va. 22060
By Yetta Canty, Fort Belvoir ASAP Risk Reduction Program Coordinator