Don’t Drink and Drive
Ringing in the New Year
I’ll be babysitting the grandkids this year since my oldest daughter and my charming son-in-law will be going out for a night on the town.
When I was younger I always looked forward to New Year’s Eve. My husband’s family enjoyed partying, and there was many a New Year’s Eve that we would travel from Connecticut to New York City and spend the night.
All the in-laws would stay at the same hotel in the Big Apple. We’d have dinner in the theater district at Sardi’s or Gallagher’s (where you can see the beef hanging in the window!) or sometimes at Jack Dempsey’s Restaurant on Broadway. Afterwards we’d take in the scene at Times Square to get a glimpse of the ball. Later we’d go back to the hotel and take in a show at Rockefeller Center the next day, and stop in at Tavern on the Green.
What was nice about going to NYC was that once we were there, the car was parked and we didn’t have to drive. We’d take a cab or walk wherever we wanted to go.
Many cities and towns now have First Night celebrations, which is really nice because most family events and are alcohol-free.
During the holidays, everybody looks forward to celebrating with family and friends. Our mailbox fills up with invitations to Christmas and Hanukkah parties, dinners, and other get-togethers. Through each exciting gathering we learn to control our eating to avoid those holiday and New Year’s pounds. Another thing to be aware of is how much alcohol we consume.
Everyone wants to get into the spirit of the occasion. But good natured frivolity can get us into trouble when we drink without thinking at office parties and other holiday gatherings. Having a truly good time means handling our alcohol responsibly.
We need a plan before we even reach the party.
Choose a designated driver. You hear it all the time but that’s because it’s important. This doesn’t give permission to drink until you can’t stand up but at least when you are ready to go home, someone who is in control of their faculties will be in charge of driving. To appear fair, rotate the role of designated driver among your circle of friends so everyone gets a chance to participate fully in the party happenings.
Mix your alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic beverages. One or two drinks can have less of an effect on us when drank intermittently with soda. If you drink only one or two drinks it may be best to hail a taxi rather than risk driving home because you’re unsure whether you’re over the limit or not.
Blood alcohol content is how the police test for the amount of alcohol still circulating in your system. In the United States, the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.08 percent. Anything above that is considered breaking the law and will result in a DWI or DUI arrest and possible prosecution.
When someone is stopped by the police, they assess the need to administer a breathalyzer test. The person blows on the instrument and it registers a blood alcohol level. The number that appears is admissible in court should it come to that.
But, how did they know to stop you? Believe it or not, someone under the influence of alcohol tries to rationalize that they are alright to drive. It’s the ones who are just over the limit that rationalize the most.
They reason that if they drive slower, they’ll make it home safely. Unfortunately, the body has other plans. Alcohol slows the reaction time. As a result, people under the influence of alcohol drive slower so they have less trouble braking if needed. They brake more often because they are trying not to hit anything. Forgetting to turn on the headlights isn’t uncommon.
On the other end of the spectrum, someone who is blatantly drunk will drive fast, swerving across the center line and showing a disregard for traffic signals and signs. Wide turns result in accidents either with stationary objects or another moving vehicle. When people drink and drive, someone can die.
The bottom line is don’t drink and drive. The odds are against us that we’ll get away with it. Don’t bet someone else’s life (or your own) on it.
Happy New Year!