​​​​Find a safe ride on Blackout Wednesday

Nov. 22, 2021

Shots of tequila being poured

Maybe she cooked the best pumpkin pie this side of the Mississippi. Maybe he told jokes so terrible, everyone laughed anyway. But for too many families this holiday season, memories like that will be all they have left of a loved one because of a drunk driver.

The night before Thanksgiving has come to be known as “Blackout Wednesday." People come home from college and go on a bender with friends they haven't seen for months. Or, knowing they don't have to work for four days, indulge a little too much because they know they'll have time to recover from the hangover. And with the pandemic affecting the ability to get together last year, people may want to make up for lost time. Whatever the reason, Blackout Wednesday is an extremely dangerous night on the roads.​

Over the past five years (2016 – 2020), more than 115,640 people have been arrested for DWI. That's over 23,000 DWI arrests each year. And during the last five years, more than 11,000 people have been arrested for DWI from the day before Thanksgiving through Dec. 30.

The consequences of a DWI are unpleasant at best. You can lose your license for up to a year, and even possibly serve jail time. And that's not to mention the cost to a first-time DWI offender: about $10,000 when figuring in things such as court costs and insurance rates. Do you have 10 grand just lying around? Better to find a safe ride.

A DWI is no holiday, but really, the legal and financial penalties of a DWI shouldn't be the reason you avoid drinking and driving. You should avoid it because protecting your friends, yourself and other people on the road is the right thing to do. Do you really want to be the person who deprives a family of a beloved parent, sibling or child this holiday season? In the last five years, 26 people died in drunk driving-related crashes during the holiday DWI extra enforcement period. (Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve.)

Besides, planning ahead for a safe ride isn't that hard. Impaired is impaired, regardless of the substance. Designate a sober driver. Take public transportation, a ride share service, or a taxi home. Spend the night on the couch at the place where you're partying. With a little advance planning, you can have a good time the night before Thanksgiving and ensure that every seat is filled at the tables of those you encounter on the road.​