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An extreme close-up of car keys on a granite countertop. Two beverages are in the background.

Drinking and Driving – Don’t Risk It

It’s the holiday season, which means invitations to work parties, family parties, ugly sweater parties – the list goes on! Holiday gatherings are a great way to spend time with loved ones during the holiday season, but if you are going to drink alcohol at these events, play it safe – don’t drink and drive.According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person typically begins to lose judgment after consuming just two alcoholic drinks (one alcoholic beverage equals 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits). After three drinks, their judgment will be impaired, they will not be as alert, and they may have loss of small-muscle control (i.e., focusing their eyes). Four drinks in, that person will lose muscle coordination – think poor balance, vision, and hearing. Five drinks – their speech is slurred and their reaction time is noticeably slower than normal.Each of these levels leads to predictable effects on driving, ranging from decline in visual functions – not spotting that deer as quickly as you would if you were sober – to substantial impairment in vehicle control. “Especially when the road conditions may be tenuous due to weather conditions or darkness, it is important to be mentally sharp and focused when driving. “Driving while impaired, under these same conditions, significantly increases the risk of accident, injury and even death to the driver and other passengers in the vehicle,” says George Garrow, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Primary Health Network.Plan ahead if you know you will be drinking alcohol at a social event. Designate a non-drinking driver if you are with a group of friends, arrange for a taxi to take you home, or ask a family member or friend to pick you up. Do not let your friends drive while under the influence, and if you are hosting a party where alcohol will be served, make sure all of your guests leave with a sober driver. Have a safe and healthy holiday season!

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