7 Tips for Preventing a DUI During the Holidays
With the onset of the holiday season comes the onset of holiday parties. These are just one more reason to enjoy this time of year.
It’s always fun seeing loved ones, exchanging gifts and partaking in old traditions.
However, you know what they say about too much of a good thing which can be a problem when it comes to drinking and driving home from holiday parties. While this is no crime by itself, getting behind the wheel absolutely is.
Before you start heading to holiday festivities, consider the below tips for preventing a DUI.
Tip #1 – Simply Don’t Drink
Not a popular tip, of course, but the most effective by far. If you know you have trouble turning down drinks or you’ve had an issue in the past, it’s best to simply abstain altogether.
Volunteer to be the designated driver for others and you’ll have a network of people dedicated to keeping you honest. While the party might not feel the same without a few spirits, you’ll save money, avoid a possible headache and, best of all, not spend your holiday behind bars (or worse).
Tip #2 – Prepare Accordingly
Whether you decide to drink or not, choose early enough that you can prepare if need be. Drinking is best done on a full stomach, and at a slow pace. You’ll feel the potency of each beer or glass of wine a lot more if you haven’t eaten and are drinking quickly. Make sure you eat properly, and don’t have to drive right after drinking.
Tip #3 – Know Your Limit
If you are an experienced drinker, you probably know your limits. Unfortunately, the Maryland State Police Department doesn’t use those same markers as you do. Look up a blood alcohol calculator on the Internet to get an idea of what BAC (blood alcohol content) someone of your gender and size will be at after a certain number of drinks. Aim for below the legal limit and you’ll be off to a good start.
Keep in mind, however, that an online BAC calculator isn’t admissible in court. Also, if you are pulled over and pass a breathalyzer, you could still face charges related to your driving simply by having consumed alcohol before driving. As always, if you plan on drinking alcohol, avoiding driving whenever possible.
Tip #4 – Follow the Law to the Letter
Obviously, this is always good advice. But keeping that last section in mind, it’s especially important that you don’t take to casual driving around the holidays. Police are aware of holiday parties and what they can entail, so they’ll be looking for the kind of driving that accompanies it. Get caught rolling a stop sign or not signaling correctly and you could be in for a long night.
Tip #5 – Don’t Let Your Car Give Them a Reason…
You might stay five miles below the limit, perfectly within the lines and begin slowing the second you see a yellow light. But that won’t stop a cop from puling you over if your tags are expired, a taillight is out, or you have a cracked windshield. Drunk or not, if you have alcohol on your breath or the officer asks you if you have been drinking, things could get tense.
Tip #6 – Sleep It Off Smartly
People often elect to “sleep off” their intoxication in their car. This, by itself, is not illegal, and takes the danger away from others on the road, but it’s not necessarily smart either. Maryland doesn’t make for the most hospitable weather during the holiday season, for one. So sleeping in your car is going to be uncomfortable at best and potentially dangerous, at worse.
Think you’ll just turn on the heat? The problem with that solution is now you’re considered in physical control of a vehicle. If your BAC is past the legal limit, you could be charged with a DUI just for having the keys in the ignition. If there is anything to give the police officers reason to believe that you have driven recently (such as if you are on the side of the road) you could also be arrested. Sleep in your car with caution.
Tip #7 – Be Aware of Checkpoints
One way the police seek to deter and catch drunk drivers is with checkpoint stops. While you may not be drunk, if you’ve had any drinks, it’s best to avoid them. Keep an eye on your local newspaper and the news for any mentions. The Internet is always a safe bet for notifications too.
The holiday season is supposed to be a time of goodwill and cheer, not getting behind the wheel after you’ve had too much beer. Review the above steps before your next party and you’ll be sure to stay off the MSPD’s naughty list. If the unthinkable does happen and you are arrested for DUI/DWI, please contact us immediately to start the process and get help.