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Christmas is the first half of the climax that is the holiday season and you know what that means: people are going to drink too much at the bars and parties and drive home anyway thinking they are fine. Every year, police refer to this time as the “DUI season” as more people get cocky and overconfident after a night out and end up swerving, if not getting in an accident and injuring themselves and others. You’d think that by now everyone would know that DUIs ruin lives, but as any Portland DUI lawyer will tell you, people can’t seem to grasp that simple lesson.

Every year, it’s essentially the same story. Someone goes out to the bar to celebrate the holiday, or to a friend or family member’s house for a party, has one too many egg nogs, or craft beers as of the recent explosion on the market, and didn’t pick a designated driver. With the advent of ridesharing services, such as Lyft and Uber, it shouldn’t be as big of a problem as it continues to be, but some locations don’t have readily accessible ridesharing options around the clock. Christmas Eve and Christmas are two of the most heavily traveled days of the year, meaning plenty of people on the road after having a few drinks.

As such, police teams keep an eye on the bars and set up additional checkpoints on the roads to catch buzzed and drunk drivers before a collision can occur. In order to avoid ruining your evening, holidays, and potentially life (on top of others’ lives), we have a few tips for safely drinking this Christmas and holiday season.

Pick a designated driver: Make sure at least one person in the car remains sober throughout the evening to drive you safely to your destination and back home again.

Know where you’re staying: Maybe you get lucky and your friend hosting a party has a spare room in which you can stay. Check beforehand.

Wait 30 minutes: Say you’re only going out for one or two drinks. Wait at least 30 minutes after your last drink as it’s in this timeframe that the alcohol can really hit. If you feel even the slightest buzz, call a cab, catch a ride, or wait it out until you’re completely sober.

Don’t ruin the holidays this year by getting behind the wheel when you shouldn’t. DUIs ruin lives, not only your own but others’ as well. You don’t want to be responsible for manslaughter. If you or a loved one has been involved in a DUI, contact our offices immediately to discuss your next steps. Stay safe this holiday season.