Don’t rely on the ‘Luck of the Irish’ – stay safe on the roads this St. Patrick’s Day with AAA

AAA’s Lori Weaver Hawkins says on St. Patrick’s Day it seems everyone is Irish. Many go out to celebrate and for a large share of them, alcohol will be part of the equation.

So if you plan to take part in the festivities, before you head out to that party or meet friends at the pub, know how you’ll get home safely.

On St. Patty’s Day, a lot of people believe it’s okay to drink because they’re only getting a little buzzed and feel fine. But Hawkins says buzz driving is also drunk driving and St. Patrick’s Day sees an increase in impaired driving crashes.

So don’t let anyone leave your party if they’ve been drinking. Take their keys, and help them get a safe ride home.

“Better to feel a little bit uncomfortable or have a friend temporarily upset with you, then lose that friend forever or have that friend’s life changed forever because they’ve caused a crash that took someone else’s life or severely injured them,” said the public and government affairs manager.

If you are the host, Hawkins says to make sure you stop serving alcohol the last hour of your party. In West Virginia, 23 percent of traffic fatalities involve an impaired driver.

“Have some festive, non-alcoholic beverages available, that way your designated drivers and other folks who don’t want to have alcohol but still want to get into the party spirit can enjoy them,” Hawkins said.

If you feel differently, you’re going to drive differently… Hawkins says you’re not going to have the same reflexes and ability to maneuver your vehicle. All these fatalities due to impaired driving are preventable. We talk a lot about numbers.

“But those aren’t just numbers; those are people’s family members and friends whose lives were cut short because someone, not always the — innocent people that just happened to be in the way of the impaired driver,” said the public and government affairs manager. “All of those folks have lost their lives even though it could have all been prevented if someone had made the right decision.”

Thinking you won’t start to worry until it’s time to go home Hawkins says is not using good judgment. If you’re going on a pub crawl where you will be on foot.

“Be careful when you’re a pedestrian as well,” she said. “There is such a thing as walking impaired.”

Enjoy the luck of the Irish but the public and government affairs manager says luck isn’t going to help you and others on the roadway.

“Have that safe plan in place that doesn’t involve you getting behind the wheel after you’re been drinking or getting in a vehicle with someone driving who’s been drinking,” said Hawkins.

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