The holiday season is about to begin and it is a good time to think about drinking and driving.
In the weeks ahead, there will be parties and gatherings to attend. Alcohol will be available at some of those parties. People will gather in living rooms and barrooms to toast, enjoy each other's company and gaze at the holiday lights.
One set of lights you do not want to see this holiday season is the flashing lights of a police car in your rearview mirror after you leave that holiday party.
State and local police agencies preach the message all year about the dangers of drinking and driving but it is even more relevant around the holidays.
Over eating and drinking at the holidays are all too easy.
According to Ohio Department of Public Safety crash statistics, November and December have high numbers of crashes involving alcohol.
According to ODPS crash statistics, 431 people were killed in 393 alcohol-related crashes last year, with 41 of those deaths occurring between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.
Think twice before and during those holiday parties about drinking and driving.
During the party, keep track of how many drinks you have had and decide whether you can drive. If you are going with a group of friends, please consider using a designated driver. Don't risk getting behind the wheel if you have had too much to drink.
Better yet, don't drink any alcohol if you will be driving.
Not only do you put yourself and everyone else in your vehicle at risk when you drink and drive, but you put every innocent driver on the road with you in danger.
If you are hosting a holiday party, keep an eye on your guests so no one leaves the party drunk with car keys in hand. Don't push drinks on your guests. Let them make that decision.
Even better, consider hosting an alcohol-free party. Some guests may grumble, but they soon will forget and still have a good time.
Enjoy the holiday season. Let's make it a safe one by not getting behind the wheel of the car under the influence of alcohol.