California drivers should make smart New Year's Eve decisions

Posted on in Car Accidents

As 2012 comes to an end, you may already have made your resolutions for 2013. Such promises are notoriously difficult to keep, but there's one resolution you can make right now that only has to carry through for the next day or so to be successful. If you're preparing for a night out on the town, resolve to keep yourself and your friends safe by making smart, responsible choices while celebrating.

The California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies will be keeping a close eye on motorists tonight and are ready to arrest anyone suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Santa Cruz, highway patrol officers report that they've already made more arrests this year than last -- in part because more officers have been trained to detect the influence of illegal and prescription drugs. Police officials are encouraging New Year's Eve revelers to designate a sober driver long before the partying begins.

But because no amount of extra police officers can eliminate the risk of an accident caused by careless driving, it's important to take extra precautions. Always wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of serious injury or death in the event you're hit by another driver, for example. It's also a good idea to watch your speed. In a collision, the faster two cars are going, the higher the risk of injury.

Should your planning measures fail and your designated driver isn't fit to drive, there's nothing wrong with calling a cab. The inconvenience of having to pick up a car the following day pales in comparison to being unable to pick it up at all because of a major accident. The CHP says that 25 people died in California as a result of car accidents around New Year's Eve in 2011.

While you can't control the actions of other people who are out celebrating tonight, you may be able to reduce your chances of being injured in an accident. After all, the last thing you probably want to do in 2013 is deal with a serious injury or the funeral of a loved one as a result of a crash. Stay as safe as you can, and enjoy ringing in 2013!

Source: Mercury News, "CHP beefs up DUI enforcement through New Year's Day," Stephen Baxter, Dec. 29, 2012

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