As we close out the last day of the last month in an anything-but-typical year, it is a good time to remind Fort Wayne residents that December is designated as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

The winter holidays tend to involve lots of opportunities for consuming alcohol. While there is nothing wrong with adults legally consuming alcohol and celebrating with their friends, the problems arise when those who have been drinking decide that they can drive.

Beware of drug-alcohol interactions

Also, many people don’t realize that the cough and cold medicines and other over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and prescription medications they routinely take to manage their health conditions can interact badly with the alcohol they drink. That unsafe combination can lead to a deadly accident on New Year’s Eve (or other times).

Skills affected by little alcohol

Drivers certainly should never operate a vehicle with blood alcohol content (BAC) over .08%, the legal standard for DWI. But a driver’s skills and reaction times can be adversely affected well before they reach the point of legal drunkenness.

For instance, some drivers with half that amount of alcohol in their blood, or .04%, experience slower reaction times. Those with BACs of .06% have a much greater risk of involvement in fatal collisions than their non-drinking and driving counterparts.

Bottom line? Stay aware and be safe

You can still have a fun celebration and not place yourself in harm’s way. Partying with family and friends at home and sleeping it off before driving is a good idea. So is arranging for a sober Uber or Lyft ride or selecting a designated driver for the night’s festivities.

If you get injured by a drunk driver this New Year’s Eve, learning about your right to seek compensation can help you plot your course of action.