This week marks the start of what is known as the holiday season.
It's a time of year that's often filled with parties and gatherings. It's common to meet old friends at local establishments or to gather in the house of a friend or neighbor to enjoy each others' company and share a toast, surrounded by festive holiday lights.
One set of lights you don't want to see are the flashing ones on the top of a police car after you leave that gathering.
Most people by now are aware of the dangers associated with drinking and driving, but it's a message that bears repeating, especially this time of year. According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, there were 13 traffic deaths during the four-and-a-half-day Thanksgiving holiday in 2011. Of those deaths, four were alcohol-related.
While the last five weeks of the year see a large number of alcohol-related crashes, there are some simple steps everyone can take to keep themselves and their friends and family safe.
For starters, keep an eye on how many drinks you have had before deciding if it is safe for you to drive. If you are going with a group, choose a designated driver.
Even better, don't drink alcohol at all if you will be driving. If you are driving while you are intoxicated you put everyone in your vehicle at risk as well as innocent motorists who are sharing the road.
If you plan to host a party, keep an eye on your guests and make sure no one who plans to drive leaves drunk. Make sure you offer plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages as well.
We hope everyone will enjoy the holiday season and will play it safe by not getting behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of alcohol.