With summer right around the corner, excitement rises, clothing shrinks and the sun block comes out. What’s not to love about summer? There is plenty of sun, the balmy evenings are sure to be enjoyable, and, in general, everything is more relaxed. With the relaxation that summertime brings, casual drinking tends to increase, especially with the increased amount of outdoor holidays, weddings, sporting events, concerts, carnivals, block parties, fairs and festivals!
Unfortunately, as the drinking increases throughout the summer season, the problems of DUIs and alcohol-related deaths become even more pronounced. The good news is that by taking the proper precautions many DUIs and the associated needless deaths are preventable.
Stats and the Summer Impact
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), “summer holidays are some of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road.” National Highway Traffic Safety reports that every 45 minutes, or 32 times a day, someone dies in an alcohol-related driving crash. The summer months - roughly the span between Memorial Day and Labor Day - account for many of these untimely deaths.
Drinking Problem states that in certain areas during the summer, there can be up to 50% more deaths due to drunk driving. To add to that, each major summer holiday (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day) is said to have an average of 500 deaths, the majority of them linked to drinking. Not only do alcohol-related deaths increase throughout these warmer months, but of course DUIs increase during throughout the summer, too. Many law enforcement officials state that during the summer months they purposely do more patrolling due to the increase of drunk drivers.
The important thing to keep in mind is that the vast majority of alcohol-related accidents, deaths and DUIs are absolutely preventable during these hot and muggy months.
Safety Steps You Should Take
Though DUIs and alcohol related deaths rise during the summer months, you do not have to be a statistic. There are some easy steps you can take to be prepared. So before you go out, keep these simple tips in mind:
- Have a designated driver: This is probably one of the easiest ways to prevent getting a DUI. Before you head out to the party down the street, the Fourth of July celebration the next town over, or even the local bar, decide who is going to be the designated driver for the night. With that being said, hold each other accountable. If it is your night to be the DD, be responsible.
- Set summertime rules: As OASIS points out, the best thing you can do is make a set of clear rules among your friend group. If the rule is to take car keys away when someone is clearly under the influence, then stick to that rule. Make your expectations known to one another, and make sure that your communication is clear with one another.
- Be prepared for holidays: Don’t let the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, or the unexpected celebrations be a surprise. Before you go, decide to hold one another accountable and have the DD picked out. Summer holidays are a great time to reconnect with old friends, but they are also an easy way to get caught up in the moment and have too many drinks without realizing it.
- Be aware of your consumption: Not every drink is going to have the same amount of alcohol in it. The Alcohol Content Database is very helpful in figuring out how much alcohol is in a drink.
The best thing you can do is be prepared for the extra drinking opportunities summer brings. When you are prepared and aware of your surroundings, you can curb the statistics of summer DUIs and alcohol related accidents. By all means go out and have fun, but before you go out, ask yourself, “how am I practicing responsible drinking?”, and then take the necessary precautions.