BOISE – With the return of March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday this year, many Americans will be celebrating over the weekend. AAA is reminding drivers to plan ahead to stay safe behind the wheel.
“When St. Patrick’s Day falls in the middle of the week, people may exercise a bit more caution in how much they celebrate. But this year, there might be a stronger temptation to overindulge, which could increase the dangers of impaired driving,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “Having a good game plan for the weekend isn’t just something you should see on a basketball court – helping everyone make it home safely needs to be the highest priority.”
In 2020 alone, 37 people nationwide were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period (from 6 P.M. March 16 to 5:59 A.M March 18).
The game plan
- Designate a sober driver at the beginning of the evening. Doing so will avoid the dangerous choice to hand the keys to the person who is least impaired rather than someone who isn’t impaired at all.
- Know your options – a sober designated driver, a ride-hailing service like Uber or Lyft, or a taxi are available in most cases.
- If you’re hosting a party at your house, make sure you have plans to get your guests safely home.
- If you’re on the road, report any dangerous driving behavior that you observe right away.
- When you’re out for the evening, watch closely for pedestrians and bicyclists.
“We hope that these reminders serve as a springboard to talking about safe driving throughout the spring and summer. The Idaho Transportation Department has observed that while more crashes occur during the winter months, they usually tend to be less severe because people generally slow down in bad weather,” Conde said. “As road trip season gets underway, we hope drivers will stay alert, monitor their speed, and give themselves plenty of time and space to avoid a serious crash.”