Chicago is a great place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Our city is full of Irish-American history and pride, and each year we celebrate our Irish heritage by throwing one of the largest parades in the country and by dyeing the famous Chicago River green. St. Patrick’s Day is also a day for drinking with friends. And while celebrating with whisky and beer is part of this holiday’s fun, the greater levels of alcohol consumption also make it a day to be even more responsible.
Please check out my seven safety tips to help you enjoy the festivities safely:
- Plan ahead by figuring out a safe way for you and your friends to get home. Whether you’re going to a pub crawl or going to a friend’s house for a party, plan ahead to make sure that you can take a cab or public transportation home.
- Eat regularly so that you never drink on an empty stomach. Eating will help absorb the alcohol and keep your body from feeling the full negative effects of a long night of drinking.
- Stay hydrated by drinking a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage. Drinking water frequently will help you have fun for longer and it will decrease the chances of a hangover the next day.
- Please limit your drinking to only one drink every hour, which is around the time that your body takes to metabolize the alcohol.
- If the party is at your house, please have all your guests turn their keys to you when they arrive. At the end of the night, be prepared to call cabs for your guests or let them sleep over.
- If you are the designated driver, be careful of intoxicated pedestrians and other drivers. Just because you were being responsible doesn’t mean that other people are.
- And of course, if you feel impaired, don’t get behind the wheel. In the eyes of the law, impaired driving is drunk driving. So when in doubt, don’t drive.
You can see more St. Patrick’s Day safety tips here. Also, you may be surprised by how few drinks it takes to make you too intoxicated to drive. Please use this chart as an approximation for blood alcohol percentage:
St. Patrick’s day is all about dressing in green, drinking with friends, and a healthy dose of responsibility. Please stay safe, and have a wonderful weekend!
According to a study done in 2011, the city of Chicago has a relatively low number of pedestrian deaths from vehicular accidents compared to other large cities. While the number of pedestrian deaths has gone down steadily since 2001, there were still 32 pedestrians killed in 2010. The city of Chicago can do more to prevent future pedestrian deaths. And hopefully, as a result of a recent settlement, the city of Chicago will have even more of an incentive to protect its pedestrians.
A settlement was reached in July in a lawsuit against the city of Chicago in a case where a 4-year-old girl was fatally struck by a car near Lincoln Park Zoo in 2006. Maya Hirsch was crossing at a crosswalk with her mother and brother when a car failed to stop at a stop sign and struck them. Maya’s parents sued the city because the stop sign was improperly placed and the crosswalk had not been painted for six years before the accident and had deteriorated. Because of their negligence, the city of Chicago is set to pay $3.25 million dollars to Maya’s family for her tragic death.
Maya Hirsch’s untimely and tragic death could have been prevented if the city was vigilant in managing its streets and roadways. Deteriorated traffic signals and misplaced street signs can cause horrific accidents if left unremedied. Hopefully, the city of Chicago will learn from Maya’s death and work harder to keep its streets safe for pedestrians.
Earlier in September in Chicago, an 83-year old woman turned herself over to the police after she had accidentally killed a young boy with her car and then fled the scene. The driver claimed that she didn’t realize she had hit anything and that’s why she kept driving. This accident came only a week after a 100-year old man in L.A. hit eleven people with his car, including nine children. The driver meant to back out onto the street, but instead backed out onto the sidewalk.
Older drivers may have more experience behind the wheel, but their reaction times can be slower and their distance perception can be skewed. There are conflicting reports about the dangers of older drivers. One study found that fatality rates jumped significantly higher for drivers older than 65. From ages 75 to 84, the fatality rate is equal to that of teenage drivers. After age 85 the fatality rate is four times that of younger drivers. On the otherhand, another study found that the rate of fatal deaths attributed to older drivers dropped significantly from 1997 to 2008. The study found that this is probably because many seniors have chosen to limit their driving even though they may have a valid driver’s license.
While Illinois requires drivers over 75 to pass a road test when renewing their driver’s license, many other states have no requirements or restrictions for older drivers renewing their license. With increasing numbers of seniors in the United States, new requirements for renewing driver’s licenses, such as road tests and eye exams, may have to be created at a national level to keep our roads safe.