No one goes out planning to drive home drunk. Most people know it’s dangerous, yet there are almost always people who get behind the wheel when they shouldn’t. This holiday season, remember that there are ways to get home that don’t involve drinking while intoxicated.

The Maryland State Police have already reported a growing number of alcohol-related collisions in the state. Between Dec. 15 and Dec. 18, the police headed to 18 calls around the state. In 2016, they responded to 13 crashes in the same time frame.

With up to 40 percent of traffic-related deaths caused between Christmas and New Year’s Eve attributed to drunk drivers, there has never been a better time to discuss how to avoid drunk driving. There are many options ranging from calling a friend for a ride home to calling a taxi or ride-sharing service.

There’s another reason to avoid drinking and driving this season: The police are out in full force. The Maryland State Police stated that they would be increasing their total number of patrols and would be looking for drivers who are acting aggressively, driving while distracted or speeding. They’ll be looking for intoxicated drivers and those falling asleep behind the wheel. How can you avoid a ticket or worse? Keep your eyes on the road and stay sober.

Being safe means the difference between getting home at the end of the night and ending up in a serious crash. Think about your family and friends before you get behind the wheel while intoxicated. If you’re struck by someone who didn’t think about others or think about his or her own safety, remember that you have a right to file a claim.

Source: Carroll County Times, “Editorial: Find a safe way home if drinking around holidays,” Dec. 18, 2017