Tips: Get Home Safe this New Year's Eve
Wintry mix, icy roads to present challenges for designated drivers
DENVER (Dec. 31, 2018) – 2018 carried with it 207 impairment-related traffic fatalities on Colorado's roadways, per data from the Colorado Department of Transportation. This New Year's Eve, don't be a statistic: Take responsibility and action to avoid additional alcohol-related crashes and fatalities as the year comes to a close.
Safe Ride Services
Across Colorado, there are several services that can get revelers home safely. Partygoers should plan on leaving their cars at home. Roadside assistance will be available to AAA members, but it is not to be meant used solely because someone is under the influence. With temperatures expected to drop sharply this evening, AAA Colorado's roadside assistance resources will be dedicated to getting disabled vehicles on the move or to a safe location.
Emergency roadside assistance is not an alternative to a designated driver or safe-ride service.
A comprehensive list of safe-ride services, statewide, is available at aaa.com/saferide.
- Call 1-800-829-4222 (TAXICAB) to be connected to taxi services around Colorado.
- RTD will be offering free bus and rail service on its entire system from 7:00 pm on New Year's Eve until 2:59 am on January 2. More information available here.
- Aspen's Tipsy Taxi program, now in its 35th year, operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in partnership with the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office with assistance from Aspen and Snowmass Village Police and the local restaurant association. Revelers should ask their bartender to make the call.
- In the Denver-metro area, The Sawaya Law Firm is continuing its "Free Cab Ride Program" through January 1, 2019. More information is available here.
- In Colorado Springs and Pueblo, McDivitt Law Firm will be providing free cab rides home from any drinking establishment. In Pueblo, call City Cab at 719-543-2525. In Colorado Springs, call zTrip at 719-777-7777. Tell the cab driver "It's on McDivitt." More information is available here.
Tips for New Year's Revelers
Preventing drinking and driving is a shared responsibility to save lives. New Year's Eve partygoers can do their part by heeding the following advice:
- Always plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver before any party or celebration begins.
- Never get behind the wheel of a car when you've been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.
- Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.
- Do not hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired.
- Call a taxi or arrange a Lyft or Uber ride for a friend in need.
- If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911 (or pull over to a safe location to make the call yourself).
- Remember: Prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs can also impair your ability to drive safely.
"If you drink, don't drive. And if you have to drive, don't drink," said AAA Colorado spokesman Skyler McKinley. "DUIs and the tragic crashes that often result are completely avoidable when everyone is aware of the issue and actively pursues alternatives to driving drunk, including ride sharing, designated drivers, and non-alcoholic beverages."
Tips for Designated Drivers – How to Drive on Snow and Ice
With precipitation and freezing temperatures in the forecast across the state as Colorado heads into 2019, designated and other sober drivers should brace for significant driving challenges this New Year's Eve: Budget extra time, take it slow, and keep a vigilant eye on traffic conditions in front of you.
AAA Tips for Slick or Icy Roadways
- Slow down: Accelerate, turn, and brake gradually. Adjust your speed to the road conditions and leave yourself ample room to stop. Allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
- Don't tailgate: Normal following distances of three to four seconds on dry pavement should be extended to a minimum of eight to ten seconds when driving on slippery surfaces. The extra time will provide additional braking room should a sudden stop become necessary.
- Watch the traffic ahead: Slow down immediately at the sight of brake lights, fishtailing cars, sideways skids, or emergency flashers ahead.
- Avoid unnecessarily changing lanes: This increases the chance of hitting a patch of ice between lanes that could cause loss of vehicle control.
- Use extreme caution on bridges and overpasses: Black ice typically forms first in shaded areas of the roadway and on bridges and overpasses that freeze first and melt last. Although the road leading up to a bridge may be fine, the bridge itself could be a sheet of ice.
- Move over: Move over one lane for law enforcement and emergency roadside assistance personnel assisting motorists. It's the law. If you can't move over, slow down.
- Don't power up hills: Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible. Never stop while going up a hill.
- Carry a winter weather kit in your car. Contents should include a fully charged cell phone (and a car charger), ice scraper, blanket, warm winter clothing, flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, a bag of kitty litter, reflective triangles/flares, shovel, and cloth/paper towels.
AAA Tips for Braking on Ice
- Minimize the need to brake on ice: If you're approaching a stop sign, traffic light, or other area where ice often forms, brake early on clear pavement to reduce speed. Maintaining control of your vehicle is much more difficult when braking on ice-covered roadways.
- Control the skid: In the event of a skid, ease off the accelerator and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.
- If your car has an anti-lock braking system (ABS): Do not remove your foot from the brake during a skid. When you apply the brakes hard enough to make the wheels lock momentarily, you will typically feel the brake pedal vibrate and pulsate back against your foot. This is normal and the system is working as designed. Do not release pressure on the pedal or attempt to "pump" the brakes.
- If your car does not have ABS: Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to modulate the pressure applied to the brake pedal so the brakes are at the "threshold" of lockup but still rotating.
About AAA Colorado
More than 685,000 members strong, AAA Colorado is the state's most-trusted advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services - as well as member-exclusive savings. For more information, visit AAA.com.