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How to Avoid a DUI on ‘Blackout Wednesday’

The Dangers of Thanksgiving Eve

Thanksgiving is a time for friends and family to gather and give thanks, however, it has a deadly counterpart: Blackout Wednesday. This cultural phenomenon is centered around binge drinking on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, as many American students and workers have that day off and stop at nothing to celebrate. We understand that drinking with friends and family is to be expected on Thanksgiving eve, but unfortunately, there can be fatal consequences.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) deems Thanksgiving as one of the deadliest holidays on the roads. Between 2013 and 2017, over 800 people lost their lives in DUI-related crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period, which is from 6 p.m. on Wednesday to 5:59 a.m. on Monday. Although COVID-19 may impact how people participate in Blackout Wednesday at bars and restaurants this year, house parties are still prevalent and will be a popular alternative to going out. Thus, the chances of getting a DUI or being involved in a DUI-related incident are still high.

We would be remiss to advise against drinking on Blackout Wednesday, as reuniting and drinking with friends and family is inevitable, but we encourage you to drink responsibly should you decide to drink. Our Santa Barbara DUI lawyer advises you to consider the tips below to maximize your chances of avoiding a DUI on Blackout Wednesday:

  • Don’t drink and drive, even if you had one drink: Many of our clients with DUI charges claim that they only had one or two drinks and waited hours before driving. The reality is, however, that alcohol can be detected in the blood for up to 12 hours and breath for up to 24 hours, so it doesn’t matter if you only had a couple of drinks and waited an hour. It’s also worth noting that if you get into an accident with a drunk driver through no fault of your own, you may get tested for DUI and thus suffer charges.
  • Drink responsibly: As tempting as it may be to binge drink with your friends and family, you will be better off by spacing out your drinking and fueling up with food and water while doing so.
  • Use rideshare or cab services: If you drank alcohol and need a ride home, use rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, or call a cab. Although rates may be high due to the holidays, the cost of getting a DUI and potentially hurt or killed is much higher. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if you live around the corner or miles away from where you were drinking. Do not drive impaired at all costs.
  • Ask a trusted person to be your DD: If you’re not interested in using rideshare or taxi services on Blackout Wednesday, ask a reliable friend or family member to be your designated driver. Ensure they are completely sober before getting in their vehicle, as your DD may have consumed alcohol without your knowledge.
  • Book a hotel or stay at a friend’s house: If you are out of rideshare, taxi and designated driver options, consider booking a hotel or staying overnight at a friend’s house.
  • Don’t sleep it off: You can still get a DUI for sleeping in your car because the police may determine that you are in actual physical control of your car (i.e. keys in the ignition). Thus, do not sleep in your car after drinking, even if it’s just a nap.
  • Have a plan: It always helps to have a plan A, plan B and even a plan C when drinking on one of the most fatal holidays of the year. Even if you don’t plan on drinking, we advise you to make a backup plan in case you change your mind and decide to drink. Be open and honest with your friends and family about your drinking plans and explain that your plans could change depending on how the night goes. It’s beneficial for trusted loved ones to know your plans and whereabouts just in case something happens.

If you are facing DUI charges in Santa Barbara, our attorneys at Appel & Morse have you got your back. Contact our firm at (805) 467-6060 to learn more!