WORCESTER, Mass., Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Each holiday season about 1,200 people across the United States will die as a result of car crashes that involve drunk drivers. And many thousands of others will be injured. Many of these accidents are caused by drunk drivers leaving holiday gatherings hosted by friends or family—turning holiday cheer into unimaginable tragedies, in an instant.
With that reality in mind, The Hanover Insurance Group offers tips to encourage hosts to responsibly plan and hold holiday parties. These tips are aimed at helping their guests to stay safe, while also helping hosts to avoid potential personal liability.
"Drunk driving accidents are senseless and can easily be prevented," said Mark Desrochers, president of The Hanover's personal lines business. "While many people spend days and even weeks planning the perfect party, they don't give a second thought to how their guests will arrive safely home or what they will do if someone consumes too much alcohol and wants to drive." "While it may seem awkward, asking an intoxicated guest not to drive could prevent a tragedy," Desrochers said.To help reduce the risk of alcohol-related driving accidents this holiday season, or anytime you are hosting a party, The Hanover recommends:
Planning the Holiday Party:
- Let your guests know ahead of time how you feel about drinking and driving and their need to be responsible about their alcohol consumption
- As guests RSVP, remind them of the importance of a non-drinking designated driver
- Plan activities to engage your guests and to take the focus away from drinking
- Provide plenty of high-protein foods, like cheese and meats, to help slow the absorption of alcohol and to keep guests from drinking on an empty stomach. Keep in mind that food does not affect the pace alcohol leaves someone's system
- Avoid salty snacks like potato chips and pretzels that can cause guests to drink more
- Offer unique, non-alcoholic beverages, or "mocktails," for designated drivers and others who prefer not to drink alcohol
- If preparing an alcoholic punch, use a fruit juice instead of a carbonated base, which speeds the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream
- Have the number of a taxi service on hand for anyone who may need a ride, or plan to drive any intoxicated partygoers home, or if necessary make arrangements for them to stay the evening.
- Have fun, but stay in control. Remember you are responsible for the safety of your guests, and in some cases, their actions when they leave your party. Good hosts don't drink too much in order to make sure guests do the same
- Never serve alcohol to someone under the legal drinking age
- Keep alcohol in a central, visible place, where teen drivers can't "sneak" a drink
- Never ask children to serve alcohol at parties
- Don't let guests mix their own drinks. Use a reliable "server" who can track the size and number of drinks each guest consumes
- If a guest is drinking too much, offer to refresh their drink with a non-alcoholic version
- Close the bar 90 minutes before the end of the party; use the rest of the party to serve coffee and dessert. Only time will sober someone who has been drinking
- If guests drink too much, don't let them drive: drive them home yourself (leaving another sober guest to fill-in as host while you are gone), arrange for another guest or a taxi to take them home, or invite them to stay over