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Celebrate Safely This Holiday Season

Friday, December 23, 2016 7:13 AM

The spring days and warmer weather often bring many brunches, which means bottomless delicious drinks. Sometimes it’s not only alcohol that you have to be careful about with driving; being overtired can be just as dangerous.

Jacqueline David, MD, Internal Medicine at NorthShore, shares tips on how you can celebrate safely this holiday season:

  • Have a designated driver. Talk amongst your group to see who will be the driver that evening. This should be discussed before arriving at the party so the designated driver knows to stay sober.
  • Pack a bag. Ask the host or hostess if you can spend the night. This allows you to rest well so you are driving sober and well rested the next day.
  • Set your limit. If you are drinking, set a limit for yourself before the festivities begin. When you reach your personal limit, be sure to switch to water. Alcohol is a complement to the night, not the purpose.
  • Utilize public transportation. One of the benefits to living in an urbanized area is the easy access to public transportation options. From cabs to buses, you and your party can plan the best route home.
  • Coffee won’t cure it. Coffee may help you stay awake, but if you are drinking then time is the only thing that will help you sober up. For every standard drink (one shot, one glass of wine, one beer), it takes about one hour for the effects of alcohol to wear off.
  • Get some shut-eye. If you are too tired and coffee is not helping, take a nap before you drive. Driving exhausted can be just as dangerous as driving impaired – make sure you are well rested.
  • Wear your seat belt. As always, a seat belt is one of the safest things you can do for yourself when you are getting into a car.
  • Be a prepared host. Offer non-alcoholic drinks for your guests so those who do not wish to drink have other options. Also be sure to offer food so no one is drinking on an empty stomach.
  • Keep an eye out. If you are the host, keep an eye on your guests and don’t let anyone leave if they’re too tired or intoxicated. If you are a guest at the party, help the host by keeping an eye on your friends.
  • Avoid busy times. While you may be an alert, sober driver on the roads – not everyone necessarily is. Avoid traveling at peak times to try and minimize the amount of people on the road while you are driving. After New Year’s Eve, this may be about 12:30 or 1 in the morning, and on Christmas, it would be in the evening.

What are your best tips for staying safe during the holiday celebrations?