The holiday season brings excitement, new and old memories, parties, food, and fun. Yet “it is also a time when some people are more likely to drink beyond their limits than at other times of the year,” according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. When alcohol is involved, the holidays can also mean fights, falls, traffic accidents, injuries and even deaths.
For example, a recent Association of Flight Attendants poll revealed that alcohol may be partly to blame for increased passenger aggression, dubbed “air rage.” In fact, air rage became so bad in 2021 (once pandemic restrictions started to lift) that American Airlines and Southwest Airlines both banned alcohol service for passengers for the entire summer.
Alcohol combined with air travel is not the only risk. Driving during the holiday season brings more congested roads, dangerous road conditions, and fatigued and impaired drivers.
Whether you’re flying, driving or staying local this holiday season, follow these alcohol safety tips to enjoy the festivities incident-free.
Don’t drink on an empty stomach
Hosting or attending holiday celebrations will generally involve alcohol. From holiday toasts to open bars, it’s important to drink responsibly. That means never drinking on an empty stomach. Food helps absorb alcohol and slows its effects on the body.
Practice defensive driving
Defensive driving means watching for other drivers who may not be acting responsibly. If you encounter a suspected drunk driver, put as much distance between your car and theirs as possible. Never follow or attempt to pass a drunk driver.
Select a designated driver or arrange a ride
You don’t have to meet the legal threshold for driving while under the influence to experience impaired judgment and other effects of alcohol like road rage. According to AAA, your inhibitions are lowered after just one drink. After two, your reaction time is slower. And after three, your judgment is compromised. Even if you only intend to have one drink, make a plan for how you will get home safely. Select a designated driver or arrange a ride.
Remember that if you are the host of an event, you are legally responsible for guests who drink and drive.
This holiday season, don’t let alcohol get in the way of making happy memories with loved ones. Being smart and responsible with alcohol will help keep the season enjoyable.
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