December 3, 2002

CAA offers tips to prevent party-goers from driving while intoxicated

Ottawa, Ontario – During National Safe Driving Week (December 1-7), the Canadian Automobile Association reminds motorists to keep safety in mind while celebrating during the festive season ahead.

The CAA message is simple: if you’re going to drink, don’t drive, don’t let others drink and drive, and don’t ride with anyone who has been drinking.

Party givers should take these steps to help their guests return home safely:

  • Control the flow of alcohol. Measure drinks for your guests. Avoid serving doubles. If you’re going to provide an alcohol-based punch, use a non-carbonated base like fruit juice. Alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream faster with a carbonated base.
  • Don’t push drinks on your guests or rush to refill their glasses.
  • Provide your guests with non-alcoholic beverages and nutritious foods, so they will not drink on empty stomachs. Avoid too many salty foods that tend to make people thirsty and drink more.
  • If you see a guest drinking too much, engage him or her in conversation to slow down the drinking. If guests drink too much, call a cab or arrange a ride with a sober driver. Before the party begins, make a list of telephone numbers for cab companies and organizations offering free rides to the public during the holidays.
  • Be prepared to take away car keys. You may even want to collect keys as your guests arrive and let them know that only sober drivers will get them back at the end of the evening. Partygoers must also be responsible:
  • Make the decision not to drink and drive even before you leave home. Leave the keys at home, call a cab, or ride with a designated driver who agrees to drink only non-alcoholic beverages.

  • When you leave the party, be alert and awake. Drive defensively and watch out for drunk drivers. Notify the police if you see someone who is driving erratically. If using a cellular phone to report another driver, pull over and stop in a safe place before calling.

Alcohol and driving is a deadly mix that claims the lives of more than 1,100 Canadians each year.

The CAA is a federation of 11 automobile clubs serving more than four million members through 130 offices across Canada.

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