Find a safe way home this season

Published 7:01 am Sunday, December 6, 2015

QUESTION: What’s a really important gift to get during the holiday season?

ANSWER: When we think about gifts, our minds tend to turn toward things. When we think a little longer, most of us will think about the special events and opportunities of the season: favorite food, holiday music, connections with friends, family gatherings. The presence of the people we love, for most of us, is what we really want.

For many of us, it is traditional that our celebrating includes alcohol. The risk is that someone is going to drink too much alcohol and still decide to get behind the wheel of a car and end of robbing others of their most valuable gift, the life of a person they love.

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Please make an intentional decision now that you will speak up and find a safe ride home for any impaired person in your presence during the coming holidays. Plan for a safe ride: designate a sober driver, use a taxi or stay at the location of the celebration. Offer to be a designated driver or be available to pick up someone important to you anytime, anywhere. When you are in a car yourself, buckle up and make sure everyone else is buckled up; seat belt use is the best defense against a drunk driver who is on the same road you are. Report impaired driving. Pull over and use your cell phone to call 911 if you see erratic driving. Be ready to give the car license plate number, the observed dangerous behavior and your location.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturdays in December, more than 300 law enforcement agencies statewide will be looking for motorists who are not making smart choices with alcohol during the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement effort. Alcohol remains a leading contributing factor in crashes on Minnesota roads. Nearly one out of every four deaths on Minnesota roads is drunk driving-related.

Help Law Enforcement keep everyone’s holiday happy. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t let anyone else drink and drive. Be an alert and defensive driver yourself and be sure you buckle your seat belt. The Parenting Resource Center coordinates the Mower County TZD (Toward Zero Deaths) Safe Roads Coalition. Check out the www. website and the PRC Specialty Library (105 First Street S.E., Austin) for excellent traffic safety information for adults and youth.