The holidays are a time to connect with family, relax, and enjoy the season’s festivities.
However, every year many families’ holiday seasons are ruined by a single factor: drinking and driving. DWI arrests and drunk driving accident injuries turn many Minnesota families’ holidays into a tragedy every year.
The most straightforward one is that drinking tends to increase over the holidays. Moreover, a number of other factors (such as winter weather), make drunk driving even more dangerous than usual, and more likely to result in an accident.
Because of this, Minnesota law enforcement increases efforts to catch drunk drivers over the holidays, meaning that driving drunk around this time of year carries a greater risk of a DWI.
The worst part is that all of these tragic occurrences are preventable. That’s why we’ve provided a guide covering why drunk driving increases over the holidays, and how to avoid driving drunk and ending up with a DWI – or worse yet, in a drunk driving accident.
Why Is There So Much Drinking in December in Minnesota?
Unsurprisingly, more people drink around the holidays than any other time of the year. From Thanksgiving through New Year, family and friends gather to celebrate several holidays, and alcohol is traditionally a part of many of these celebrations. Unfortunately, many people choose to drive home from these celebrations after drinking.
This isn’t just hand-waving. Increased alcohol consumption in December is backed up by the statistics:
- 16% of US adults say that they drink more over the holidays than any other time of the year.
- 51% of drunk drivers have higher blood alcohol content than average around the holidays.
- 50% of adults state that alcohol is present in family holiday gatherings.
- 96% of adults say they show up for work hungover during the holidays, or that they know someone who has.
What Happens When Minnesotans Drink and Drive over the Holidays?
Unfortunately, driving drunk around the holidays is also more likely to result in a serious accident.
At the end of the year, crashes are more common for several reasons:
- Extra traffic. Over the holidays, more people are out on the road to shop, attend events, visit with family, and socialize. More vehicles on the road means more accidents.
- Winter weather. Inclement weather conditions are more likely over the holiday season, which results in hazardous and less-forgiving driving conditions.
- Who’s drinking and driving. Many people only drink around the holidays. This means that they have a decreased tolerance for alcohol, and they are more easily impaired. Which means more drunk drivers on the road.
How to Avoid a Minnesota DWI
The only real way to avoid a DWI is to avoid driving drunk in the first place. However, many times people don’t intend end up driving home drunk. Instead, this results from failing to plan ahead, and making the decision to drive home once already intoxicated, when judgement is impaired.
By putting a plan into place before your night out, you will make all of the important decisions, such as how to get home, when you’re sober and exercising good judgement. There are a number of strategies you can use to plan ahead and avoid drunk driving.
It’s also important to know what to do in the event that you’re stopped for suspected drunk driving. Knowing how to respond to officers’ requests will help you make the right judgement calls when it matters most.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge, and recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).