Keep yourself and others safe this Christmas time

Weyburn This Week editorial

This year’s Christmas celebrations will be different in many ways, not the least of which is due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a nasty virus that has ruined lives, closed businesses, killed people and continues to wreak havoc on society in general.

A possible side effect of people having to spend Christmas close to home is they may be inclined to imbibe in alcoholic beverages more than they might otherwise do.

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There are many people who don’t want to drink, or don’t like to, in order to have fun or enjoy the company of their family or friends.

For those who do enjoy a drink or two, the hope is that they will not get behind the wheel if they have had a beer or cocktail or two. The impulse may be, if they need to run to the store for some groceries or a last minute gift, to think, “I’m fine, I only had one …”

Worse, someone who is used to alcohol and doesn’t really feel the effects even after two or three drinks may feel it’s no big deal if they drive over to a friend’s place, or to their uncle’s farm out in the country, or wherever else they might travel to.

Similarly, if someone has imbibed in any drugs, including marijuana, they should not be driving their vehicles anywhere, for the same reason: the safety of the travelling public on the roads, and of pedestrians and anyone else they might encounter on our streets, grid roads or highways.

The temptation is to blame everything on COVID for the bad things that are happening, but the virus will not be to blame if someone gets into an accident while impaired, and causes injuries or death.

In the case of drug impairment, there is a zero-tolerance policy for law enforcement and SGI in regard to anyone who is caught behind the wheel impaired in any way.

While travel might be discouraged due to COVID this year, there will be some travel out of necessity, and some people may be visiting immediate family members or those within their “bubble” to celebrate.

Everyone wants to arrive at their destination safely, whether it’s to visit parents, children or just a run to the grocery store to buy food or other necessities. The last thing anyone wants is for a police officer to come to your door to inform you that a loved one was severely injured or died in an accident — and especially not one caused by someone who drove while impaired by a drug or alcohol.

If you’ve had a drink, it’s not okay, ever, to pick up your keys to drive, even if it’s considered a short distance. An accident can happen anywhere, even a block from your house, and the lives and wellbeing of innocent pedestrians or motorists should not be in jeopardy from your decision to drive. Stay safe this holiday season, and keep others safe too.