Luck comes up often in March. People celebrate the “luck o’ the Irish” on St. Patrick’s Day, and many celebrate their lucky picks in an office basketball bracket contest. If we are all lucky enough, we should see warmer spring weather by month’s end.
However, when it comes to avoiding unwanted accidents and injuries – particularly motor vehicle accidents – you should never rely on luck.
By all means, we encourage you to enjoy this fun time of the year. Check out Virginia or Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament, or VCU or Richmond in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. Go to one of the many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations taking place in Richmond and throughout the state.
However, if you do so, take these steps to stay safe:
1. Don’t drink and drive.
About one-third of motor vehicle accident-related fatalities that occur in the U.S. on St. Patrick’s Day every year involve drunk driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) does not track St. Patrick’s Day crash statistics. However, based on the most recent figures from the DMV, roughly one-third of the state’s total traffic deaths involved alcohol during March 2013. Those statistics are:
Whether you are going to a St. Patrick’s Day party or crowding around a TV at a sports bar or a friend’s home to watch a game, don’t drive if you drink. There are plenty of alternatives available:
- Use a sober designated driver.
- Call a taxi.
- Use public transportation.
- Call a friend or family member to take you home.
Don’t let your friends drink and drive, either. If you host a party, make sure your guests have a safe way home. Never serve alcohol to anyone under age 21.
2. Don’t drink and walk, either.
As HealthDay.com reports, “drunk walking” can be just as dangerous as impaired driving. Alcohol impacts not only your judgment but also your ability to control your balance and coordination. If you drink and walk, it might just expose you to a pedestrian accident.
3. Check your scores later.
While you are driving around, you may be dying to check your smartphone and see the scores of a tournament game. It can wait.
Drive Smart Virginia reports that 80 percent of the state’s traffic crashes involve distracted driving. Talking on a cell phone, glancing at it to read or send a text or using it to read something on the Web can be especially dangerous because they combine visual, manual and cognitive distractions.
Your safety is more important than the score. Focus on the road instead.
4. Prep for a party.
If you invite friends or family to your home to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, watch a game or enjoy spring weather on the patio after this long winter, make sure your home is free of hazards.
Clear your walkways and sidewalks. Remove tripping hazards by picking up rakes, shovels, tools and other objects that may be lying around. If you anticipate child visitors, make sure that stairways are blocked off and dogs are kept in a safe area.
You don’t want a slip-and-fall accident or dog bite injury to ruin the day.
5. Rest before work.
If you have to work the next day, don’t stay out until the wee hours of the morning. (St. Patrick’s Day is, after all, on a Tuesday.) If you are drowsy in the morning, you expose yourself to getting into a fatigued driving accident and make yourself more prone to getting into an accident on the job.
It’s fitting that the National Sleep Foundation’s “Sleep Awareness Week” takes place during March. Get a good night’s rest before you clock in to work.
Of course, even the safest among us can be injured by the wrongful acts of another. Contact a Richmond injury attorney at Geoff McDonald & Associates, P.C., if you have been harmed by another person’s negligent, reckless or intentional acts. We can provide a free consultation.