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The biggest drinking day of the year might surprise you. While holidays like Independence Day or St. Patrick’s Day are often associated with increased drinking, you might not know that the day before Thanksgiving is sometimes referred to as “Blackout Wednesday” because of the high volume of drinking that occurs.

The increase in drinking may come from young adults who are back in their hometowns for the holiday and use Thanksgiving Eve as a chance to meet up with old friends. Many people may also feel free to drink more than usual because they won’t be working the next day. Drinking holidays, in general, may encourage people to drink with many celebrations occurring that may involve alcohol. With that rise in drinking comes an increase in fatalities, many caused by drinking and driving. The number of drunk driving arrests also rises during this time period. The US Department of Transportation has launched a campaign to encourage responsible drinking over the Thanksgiving holiday and to prevent drunk driving.

If you’re looking for ways to safely celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday period, we have a few drunk driving prevention tips to avoid a DUI and stay safe.

Try Avoiding Alcohol Completely

If you’re going to be out on the roads, the safest course of action is to avoid alcohol entirely during drinking holidays.You can be impaired after just one drink, and you don’t want to be one of the unfortunate fatalities on this holiday. You also don’t want to ruin your holiday season with a DUI.

You can still enjoy the company of family and friends without drinking. Just stick to soft drinks if you’re out at a bar, and experiment with creative mocktails at family holiday gatherings. Sparkling cider can be a festive way to celebrate without alcohol, including it in your celebrations will make everyone who chooses not to drink still feel welcome. In addition to keeping yourself safe, you’ll avoid the unpleasant side effects of alcohol the next day.

Make a Safe Transportation Plan

If you do choose to drink on Thanksgiving Eve, make sure you have a solid plan in place to prevent the chance of impaired driving. Have a designated driver in your group of friends (and make sure they’re committed to staying completely sober), or make use of ridesharing services and public transportation to get home safely. Be committed to your plan before you go out and have your ridesharing service or cab company information ready to go when you need it.

Avoid the Bars

If you want to see old friends while you’re home for the holidays, but don’t want to be tempted to drink excessively on the biggest drinking day of the year, try finding an activity that can let you have fun without alcohol. Many bars capitalize on the tendency toward increased Thanksgiving drinking by offering specials and incentives to drink. By choosing an alternative activity, like watching a movie, having a bonfire, or going bowling, you can enjoy spending time with your friends without being pressured to drink too much, or at all. Keep in mind that those activities might still include some drinking, and you’ll still need a plan to get home safely.

While it can be tempting to join in the “Blackout Wednesday” festivities, there are plenty of ways to make responsible choices and avoid drinking and driving on the day before Thanksgiving. Draeger Interlock is committed to drunk driving prevention on holidays and throughout the year by providing ignition interlock devices to those who are required due to a DUI offense. Contact us today to learn more about our ignition interlock devices.