Thanksgiving is a day of gratitude, family and friends, and a lot of food. “Blackout Wednesday” happens on the night before Thanksgiving. On this night, there is often more use of alcohol or other substances. Not only do people drink more, but there are more cars on the road. More people drive late at night or in bad weather. Many people are getting ready to travel home to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and loved ones. The U.S. Department of Transportation wants to share the message: “Make it to the Table: Don’t Drink and Drive this Thanksgiving Eve.”
From 2017 to 2021, 832 people died in alcohol-related crashes during Thanksgiving weekend nationwide. In all of 2021, one person was killed every 39 minutes in a drunk-driving crash throughout the U.S. Deadly alcohol-related crashes increased 14% from 2020-2021 and 31% from 2019-2021.
We want to make sure you are safe and ready to make it to the table this Thanksgiving.
- Know your route before you leave home. Relying only on maps or GPS can be very distracting.
- Stow your phone away while driving. For the times you need to use your phone, find a place to pull over safely.
- If you feel different, you drive different. It’s never safe to get behind the wheel while buzzed, drunk, or impaired. Make a plan to get home safely, before you drink even one drink. Waiting until after you have been drinking, may not give you time to make the best choices. An “impairing substance” is something that could cause a change in response time or slow decision-making. This could be drugs such as marijuana, but could also be medicines such as cold medicine or pain relievers.
- Use public transit, a taxi, a ride share, or your town’s sober ride program to get home safely.
- When you see a drunk driver on the road, call local law enforcement. For an emergency, dial 911. If you see someone who needs help, would like to report a reckless or impaired driver, or need to speak with a Trooper, you can reach the Nebraska State Patrol Helpline by dialing *55 from your cell phone.
- For friends who are about to drink and drive, find a way to get them home safely. When you are the sober driver, take your job seriously and do not drink.
- Check the weather. Use the Nebraska 511 Mobile App or website to check the weather, road surface, and traffic status before traveling.
- Whether riding or driving, always wear your seatbelt – every trip, every time, every seat!
Always remember Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. To learn more, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/get-materials/drunk-driving/buzzed-driving-drunk-driving/thanksgiving-eve or contact Four Corners Health Department at (877) 337-3573 or www.fourcorners.ne.gov.