Sheriff: Use a Designated Driver for a Safe and Happy Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us and it’s a popular time of the year for people to socialize – typically with alcohol. Partygoers, far too often, act irresponsibly by getting behind the wheel after drinking too much.

Oswego County Sheriff Reuel A. Todd reminds drivers that auto accidents represent the greatest single cause of death for every age group within the ages of five and twenty-seven. Of these accidents, as many as 50 percent are alcohol related, particularly during the holiday season.

“Busy roadways throughout the holidays always increase the risk of more drunken drivers. Impaired driving is the most frequently committed crime in America. In order for the roadways to become a safer place, it is vital for individuals to know their own personal limits when it comes to celebrating this festive season. Prior to making the decision to drink, people must consider the possible outcome of their actions,” said Sheriff Todd.

It’s impossible to predict when an alcohol-related accident will occur, but there are many precautions drivers can take to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of an alcohol-related traffic accident.

Precautions to take if you are hosting a party:

· Encourage guests to carpool with other guests and ask them to designate a driver who will agree to abstain from alcohol
· Serve non-alcoholic beverages for designated drivers. This will make them feel like they are still part of the festivities
· Serve a large amount of light foods. Some foods, especially those high in fat such as meats and cheeses, retard alcohol absorption
· Prior to the party, encourage guests who plan to celebrate with holiday “cheer” to spend the night

· Always be responsible for your guests. If necessary, take car keys away from them. They may be angry with you at the time, but will most likely thank you after they sober up

Precautions to take with a drunk driver on the road:

· If you suspect a drunk driver is traveling behind you, allow for the car to pass by turning right at the nearest intersection
· In the case of a possible head-on collision, pull over to the shoulder and stop. Use your horn and flash your lights to get the driver’s attention
· Always try to maintain a safe distance
· Don’t try to pass – the drunk driver might swerve into you
· Expect the unexpected when approaching an intersection. It’s a good idea to dramatically decrease your speed, or to stop
· Get the drunk driver’s license plate number, get to a phone, and immediately report it to your local law enforcement agency

Sheriff Todd wishes a happy and safe holiday season to all and asks that everyone keep in mind the above list of precautions that can assure a safe holiday season.