How Can Motorists Stay Safe on St. Patrick’s Day?

Patrick's day

If you are a fan of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, Thursday, March 17, likely already has you excited. Rain or shine, it always is possible to have a great time on St. Patrick’s Day.

With this year’s celebration of Irish culture occurring on a Thursday, many people will make it a long weekend. That is especially true for fans of Irish whiskey, Guinness, and other adult beverages.

The best way to enjoy imbibing on St. Patrick’s Day is to have your ride home arranged in advance. You need to find a designated driver or skip drinking and do the driving yourself. It is not worth of risk of having a car wreck.

You also might consider using a taxi or a ride-hailing service. The rates may be higher on St. Patrick’s Day, but splitting the bill with one or more other passengers will cut the cost. Even if you go alone, it still is much more affordable than a DUI charge and a night in jail. 

Public transportation also is a viable option. You could check the bus schedules near the pubs that you want to visit and plan your arrival and departure home. 

Make a Plan and Use It

If you intend on driving, you should plan the drive and consider where to park before arriving and leaving. You likely have a good idea of the bars that you want to visit. You likely know who would go with you to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. 

Knowing which stops you would make helps you to determine safe routes to and from your destinations. You should have a good idea of which roads will be busier and try to avoid them. Side streets and alternate routes that have less traffic and fewer police cars are ones that are likely to cause the least drama. 

Even where you park requires thought so that you will not get blocked in by other vehicles. An easy stroll to and from each bar or pub would be an ideal situation. You want to park in a well-lit area on reasonably safe streets that are close to your destinations. 

Minimize Potential Driving Distractions

Distracted driving is nearly as dangerous as drunk driving. It also is illegal. Therefore, you should turn off the cellphone and leave it alone while driving on St. Patrick’s Day. A passenger could make or take any calls while you are driving. 

You should keep the audio at a reasonable volume and avoid loud talking verging on yelling while driving to or from your favorite pubs. There are many potential distractions while driving with friends who have been drinking. Even turning your head to say something to someone could distract you enough to cause an accident. 

Your vehicle should be in good mechanical condition and fully legal for driving. If you have a headlight or a taillight out, you should fix it before St. Patrick’s Day. A dead battery, stalled vehicle, or a police stop because of a mechanical issue certainly would be distracting. It also might be costly. 

Just a little vehicle preparation could help to prevent mishaps. It also could help to ensure that other motorists can see your vehicle. And if an accident occurs, the airbags and other safety features can help protect you.   

Eat Well and Stay Hydrated

Pub crawls are popular on St. Patrick’s Day. So is shepherd’s pie. Eating more of the latter could help you to enjoy more of the former without overdoing it. 

Whether you are driving and staying sober or imbibing while someone else handles the drive, the more food and non-alcoholic beverages that you consume, the better. A full stomach limits the amount of alcohol you could drink. It also helps to absorb any light amounts of alcohol that you might consume.

Alcohol does more than inebriate when consumed in sufficient quantities. It also is a diuretic and flushes water out of your body. Partial dehydration could make you more light-headed and susceptible to the effects of alcohol. 

If you are driving, you should avoid alcohol altogether. But responsible adults do know how to greatly limit any alcohol consumption and can stay within legal and sensible limits. Good food and non-alcoholic drinks help you to maintain your alertness while driving. 

Watch for Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

Many people have one or more companions who really like to party hard on St. Patrick’s Day. You could do a hard-drinking friend a very big favor by watching out for signs of alcohol poisoning. 

Most people have been drunk at least once and likely more than that. Therefore, you likely know how alcohol can impair your coordination and judgment. When the amount of drinking goes well beyond initial inebriation, the results could be deadly. 

Alcohol poisoning occurs when the blood-alcohol content becomes high enough to cause the brain to shut down its communication with vital organs. Shortness of breath, a slow heart rate, and passing out are strong signs that an alcohol overdose has occurred. An overdose of alcohol could cause brain damage and death in extreme cases. 

The overdose might be accidental. If someone is taking prescription medication that warns against consuming alcohol, a bad reaction could occur. That is especially true with opioids, anti-anxiety medication, and many other prescription drugs.

You should use the buddy system to look out for your companions and have them look out for you. It also can help to prearrange a potential ride home if you wind up drinking after driving to a bar on St. Patrick’s Day. 

Maryland’s Social Host Liability Law

In most states, survivors of accidents caused by impaired drivers could sue a bar or similar establishment that served alcohol to the offending motorist. Dram shop laws enable accident victims to hold drinking establishments liable for serving too much to someone who causes an accident.

Maryland is among the few states that do not have such a law. There is no dram shop law in Maryland. However, the state does have a social host liability law. The social host liability law only applies to businesses or individuals who serve alcohol to someone under age 21. 

If you are struck and injured by an underage drunk driver who went on a pub crawl on St. Patrick’s Day, the social host liability law would apply. If someone hosts a private party at a residence and provides alcohol to an underage person, the social host liability law would apply in that case as well. 

The server must make a reasonable effort to not serve alcohol to people under age 21. If the underage drinker uses a fake or altered ID, the establishment or private server could be liable for damages. 

Baltimore Car Wreck Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Clients Injured by Impaired Drivers

St. Patrick’s Day can be a day of celebration of culture and enjoyment. However, some irresponsible motorists will insist on driving after drinking that day. If you have been injured in a car accident involving an impaired driver, reach out to the Baltimore car wreck lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our experienced team will investigate the cause of the accident and fight to secure the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Our offices are conveniently located in BaltimoreGlen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent clients throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.