Alcohol is a factor in almost 35 percent of all Washington State traffic deaths, according to statistics compiled by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that January 1 is the worst day of the year for the nation for alcohol-related crashes. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day should be about having fun and celebrating with friends and family, but having too much fun can lead to a world of trouble if you decide to drink and drive.
Here are six ways to get home on New Years without driving.
1. Take a cab.
Cabs are a good option for a safe ride on New Year’s Eve, although it can be a difficult night to hail a cab the traditional way. For this reason, it is important to save the number of a local taxi service in your phone before you go. Another option is using a cab-hailing app like Flywheel, which allows you to book a ride, track your cab, and pay using credits in the app or your credit card.
2. Consider cab alternatives such as Uber or Lyft.
Ridesharing options Uber and Lyft are often less expensive than traditional cabs, and allow you to locate the nearest driver using your smart phone. The drawback to these taxi alternatives, though, is surge pricing.
When demand goes up, so does the minimum price of a ride, and the price per mile. Waiting a half hour may mean you are outside the surge pricing area, and may get you a dramatically lower rate. Of course, if you are looking for a ride near the Space Needle as the last fireworks disappear from the sky, you may be in for a much longer wait. In this case, it is important to note that Lyft caps their “prime time” pricing at 400 percent while Uber has no cap.
3. Hire a professional.
Hiring a limousine or shuttle to take you to your event and pick you up afterward may seem a little over the top, but it is one of the easiest ways to get to and from the party or bar safely. The cost may even be lower than hailing several cabs when your friends all split the cost and ride together.
4. Designate a driver.
Perhaps the most tried-and-true option for a New Years ride is to designate a sober driver. While a designated driver always has quite a bit of responsibility, this is intensified on New Years. Not only is special event traffic a headache in Seattle, but parking is often problematic as well. The designated driver must also be sure to look out for drunk drivers; even if she takes every precaution, that does not mean another drive did.
5. Use public transit.
Public transit may be the most economical way home, although the buses fill quickly at peak times, especially in areas like Capitol Hill. However, some do run past midnight allowing revelers to ring in the New Year downtown. Sound Transit also offers special late-night light rail service from Westlake Station. This service will not allow you to stay out until the bar closes, since the last train heads south at 1:13 a.m. It will, however, enable you to make it home for only a few dollars.
6. Consider staying nearby.
The only way to avoid the notorious New Year’s Eve gridlock around Capitol Hill and still catch the fireworks at the Space Needle is by getting out on foot. Hotels can be expensive, but are much cheaper than fighting a DUI charge or being sued if you cause an accident. Many large celebrations, including the Seattle Bash at the EMP Museum, offer special rates at downtown hotels to those who buy tickets in advance.
How can Max Meyers Law help?
Car accident lawyer Max Meyers regularly sees clients in his Kirkland office who suffered injuries in an alcohol related accident in the Seattle area. He represents these clients in suits against the negligent drivers who were liable for their injuries, and works to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve to help pay for medical care, cover lost wages, and overcome the setbacks caused by the accident. If a drunk driver caused your injuries in Washington State, contact us today at 425-399-7000 to schedule an appointment.