It’s no secret that the winter holidays are heavily fueled by alcohol. From spiked eggnog and mulled wine to bourbon-filled chocolates, this is just a “boozy” time of year for many.
It’s also no secret that Iowa’s authorities are planning a serious crackdown on drivers who are operating while impaired (OWI). You can expect to see a heavy police presence on the roads through Jan. 1, 2022.
What does that mean for you?
You need to plan ahead. Human beings are notoriously bad at figuring out exactly how tipsy they really are. Most people measure their own state of intoxication against those around them, and that can fool them into believing they’re sober by comparison.
You can’t fool a Breathalyzer test, however – and that’s what you could be facing if you get behind the wheel of your car after consuming too much holiday cheer. With that in mind, here are some tactics you can use to avoid a big legal problem (and a potential accident):
- Offer to be a designated driver for others: If you feel awkward about declining a glass of wine from your host at a Christmas or New Year’s party, just say that you’re abstaining so you can offer rides home. That will likely end any pressure on you to imbibe.
- Make a pact with your spouse, your sibling or your buddy: If you usually spend the holidays with a few specific people, trade driving duties. Let your spouse enjoy their wine on Christmas, for example, and you can have champagne on New Year’s.
- Pre-pay and schedule your ride: Uber and Lyft make it easy to preload your account and set up a ride, so do it. That way, you can drink as much as you want without worrying about trying to manage the app while inebriated.
- Check for local free rides: Many taxis, bus services and communities will offer free rides during the holidays – just to help keep drunk drivers off the road and make sure everybody is safe.
If you do make a mistake this holiday season, be smart: Don’t compound your problems. Admit to nothing until you’ve had time to fully explore your possible defenses to an OWI charge.