FRIDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Two to three times more
people die in alcohol-related crashes on U.S. roads during
Christmas and New Year's than over comparable periods of time
during the rest of the year, says the U.S. National Institute on
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The agency also noted that 40 percent of traffic deaths during
these holidays involve an impaired driver, compared to 28 percent
for the rest of the month of December.
While most people are aware of the dangers of drinking and
driving, they may underestimate the effects of alcohol and make
poor decisions that could lead to tragedy.
Long before a person who is consuming alcohol shows physical
signs of intoxication, their driving-related skills and
decision-making abilities are already diminished, according to the
NIAAA. Continued alcohol consumption leads to a decrease in
reaction time, poor behavior control or aggression, loss of balance
Many people mistakenly believe that they're fine to drive if
they stop drinking and have a cup of coffee. But alcohol continues
to affect the brain and body long after you stop drinking,
impairing judgment and coordination for hours, the experts
Even the next day, alcohol remaining in your body or
hangover-related headache and disorientation can cause sluggishness
and impair a person's ability to drive safely, the NIAAA says.
If you plan to drink any alcohol, make plans to get home safely,
such as having a designated driver, the agency advises.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more