Michael J. Gaffney Attorney at Law
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If only all motorists would be mindful to avoid drunk driving

You might be one of many New York residents who are getting excited about the upcoming 2019 holiday season. Have you already started planning your Thanksgiving menu? From the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade to many other festive events throughout the state, thousands of full-time residents, as well as many tourists and visitors are gearing up for a fun and hopefully, safe holiday season.

Even if you typically only imbibe alcoholic beverages on occasion, you might find yourself wanting a bit of spiked eggnog or glass of wine during the holidays. It's common for holiday party hosts to serve alcohol right alongside hot cider, cocoa or fancy coffees and lattes. The problem is that not everyone remembers to keep helpful tips in mind to avoid drunk driving. You might make responsible choices, but if a drunk driver hits you, your holiday joy might come to a screeching halt.

Don't buy into the myths

Many drivers wind up facing serious legal problems or causing collisions because they believe myths about drunk driving. For instance, if someone tells you that you don't need to worry about getting behind the wheel as long as you can speak and think clearly, it is definitely misguided information. Your blood alcohol content level might exceed the limit for legal operation of a motor vehicle long before visible signs of drunkenness occur.

Don't rely on coffee to sober you up

Drinking coffee does absolutely nothing to lower your blood alcohol content level, which is what police will be concerned about if they pull you over for suspected drunk driving. A cup of joe might help you feel more alert but the idea that you can use coffee to sober up after consuming alcohol is erroneous. It also could land you in a heap of legal trouble if you believe and act on the myth.

Bread can't lower your blood alcohol content level

While it is true that food consumption slows absorption of alcohol in your bloodstream, it's a myth that eating a bunch of bread after you've already been drinking for a few hours somehow lowers your blood alcohol content level. That is simply not the case.

Practical steps to take to avoid driving while intoxicated

The easiest way to avoid drunk driving is, of course, to abstain from all alcohol if you plan to get behind the wheel after or during a holiday party. You can also take advantage of ride sharing services such as Uber. The National Highway Traffic Safety administration maintains a database of information regarding services such as the Sober Ride Program.

Making use of these programs, calling a cab or simply discussing ahead of time with your family or friends who will be a designated driver (who agrees to abstain from alcohol as your chauffeur for an agreed-upon time) are simple, yet practical ways to avoid drunk driving.

You can't do much about another driver's choices

No matter how safe, cautious and responsible you are when you drive, if another motorist makes the irresponsible choice to get behind the wheel and drive after consuming alcohol, you might be at risk for serious injury if your paths cross on a New York roadway. Many accident victims file claims in civil court to seek compensation from those deemed responsible for damages.

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Michael J. Gaffney, Attorney at Law
1164 Victory Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10301

Phone: 347-286-1937
Fax: 718-447-9908
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