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Driving Sober Or Not at All

Alcohol “is believed to have been a factor,” the Ohio State Highway Patrol concluded in providing details of an accident near Yorkville on Saturday night.

Five people were killed in the crash. It occurred when a young Wheeling man drove his car south in the northbound lanes of Ohio 7. He and his passenger died when the car smashed into a vehicle carrying four East Ohio residents. Three of them perished.

The holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving tomorrow and stretching through New Year’s Day, is a time of revelry for many. Often, the merriment includes alcoholic beverages.

Enjoying a glass of wine with Thanksgiving dinner is fine. So are a few beers or, perhaps, something stronger during a party with friends or co-workers. Tens of millions of Americans enjoy alcoholic beverages, especially with good food and good company, from time to time.

But therein can lie the great hazard of the holidays — having too much to drink, then leaving a family dinner or a pre-Christmas party and driving home.

No doubt most people think they know their limits. But consider this: Research has shown that a 180-pound man’s driving can be impaired after just two 12-ounce beers or two 5-ounce glasses of wine. For a 120-pound woman, impairment can occur after just one glass of wine.

That same woman’s blood-alcohol level can go above the legal limit for driving in West Virginia and Ohio after two drinks. For the man, it is three to four drinks.

Some alcoholic beverage manufacturers urge customers to “drink responsibly.” But do it safely, too. If you have had too much — and that may not be as many beers, glasses of wine or mixed drinks as you think — just don’t drive. Period. Find a designated driver or catch a ride with a friend. Sleep it off on someone’s couch. Call a cab or a ride-sharing service. Find a way not to put yourself, your loved ones and other travelers in danger.

Five local men and women died Saturday night because of an accident caused, in all probability, by alcohol. This Thanksgiving, their families and friends will not be celebrating. They will be grieving.

Think about that before you make a terrible mistake this holiday season.

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