WATERBURY -- Vermonters are preparing to observe the St. Patrick’s Day holiday on Monday, March 17, or even earlier. Whether your plans include celebrating by gathering with friends at the local pub, hosting a party, or attending a local parade, the "Luck of the Irish" will not be enough to keep you out of trouble. The Vermont Governor’s Highway Safety Program suggests that finding a designated driver is not luck, it’s smart.

Death and injury as a result of impaired driving are avoidable. Use good common sense. Don’t drive if you’ve been drinking.

The GHSP staff offers the following tips for a safe St. Patrick’s Day celebration:

* Designate a sober/designated driver or have an alternative transportation plan before the party begins.

* If you are hosting a party, remember, you may be responsible for the actions of your guests after they leave.

* Avoid drinking any amount of alcohol too fast. Pace yourself and eat enough food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.

* Always remain alert while driving and never operate a vehicle if you are in need of sleep.

* If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a friend who hasn’t been drinking to drive you home.


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Call a cab, a friend of family member to come and get you, or just stay where you are until you can get a safe ride home.

* Use your community’s Safe Ride program.

* Never let a friend out of your sight if you think they are about to drive and have had too much to drink. You can safe their life, and maybe others by keeping an impaired driver from getting behind the wheel.

* Always buckle up, for all trips.

* Prescription or illicit drugs do not mix well with alcohol. Ingesting a combination can dramatically increase impairment levels and may cause extreme sickness or death.

* The Vermont DUI Task Force will be conducting extra impaired driving patrols throughout the entire weekend.

* Also on patrol will be officers who are Drug Recognition Experts, trained to detect drug use by drivers.

Remember, "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving."