Cinco de Mayo – Driving Safely
Although Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory over French foes in the Battle of Puebla, it has evolved to be a major cultural celebration in Southern California. If you and your family are planning to join in on the festivities to celebrate this rich and beautiful culture, it is important to drive carefully. There is heavy traffic, and many areas are especially crowded. Review these driving tips, and make necessary arrangements before you head out to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Orange County.
1. Be Aware Of DUI Checkpoints
The California Highway Patrol sets these up for the safety of Californians on days when DUI offenses are historically higher. Since these checkpoints slow traffic down, leave earlier to allow yourself enough time to get to your destination and to get home. Always leave yourself extra driving time instead of trying to go over the speed limit. Since checkpoints also check for driver’s licenses, be sure to bring your license. You can learn about checkpoints on Best OC Events.
2. Plan Your Ride Home
You can plan ahead to have a friend be a designated driver for you and your other festivity friends. If you make advance reservations, you can arrange for a cab to take you home. For a more budget-friendly option, try signing up for Uber. You simply download the app, turn on your GPS, load credit card information and the app charges your card when you arrive at your destination. Uber rides usually cost about one-third or one-half as much as a taxi.
In 2013, there were 283 crash-related deaths on Cinco de Mayo, and about 20 percent of drivers involved in those crashes were intoxicated. When you drink, know your limits. Every person’s tolerance differs based on body size, weight and other factors. Prolonged sun exposure and medication may intensify the effects of alcohol even if you only have one drink. If you have only one or two drinks on Cinco de Mayo, give yourself plenty of time after drinking before you drive home. The legal BAC limit in California is 0.08 percent. If you are under 21, it is 0.02 percent. The state has a zero-tolerance law for underage drinking and especially for underage drinkers who get behind the wheel.
3. Watch For Pedestrians
There are several serious pedestrian accidents every Cinco de Mayo in Orange County. These usually happen when both drivers and pedestrians are not paying attention. Remember to keep your cell phone put away while you are on the road. Drive slowly in parking areas, and be ready for small children or pedestrians who are not paying attention to step out from behind parked vehicles. Look twice in crosswalks for bicyclists who may be approaching quickly. If you are a pedestrian, do not cross the street until you make eye contact with approaching drivers. If they are distracted, wait to cross the street.
4. Avoid Dangerous Driving Times
Whenever possible, avoid traveling when traffic is heavier. Late afternoon and late evening are the times when there are a lot of accidents. Since most drinking festivities intensify in the evening, from about 7:00 p.m. onward is a good time to stay off the roads especially if you are driving with your children. Plan your festivities for the afternoon if possible. If your kids are not ready to stop celebrating by evening, you can grab some supplies to make a fun Cinco de Mayo dessert at home for a family activity. You can also let them host a sleepover party for their friends to keep other adults from having to drive late in the evening.
5. Clean Your Car
Although this may sound like a frivolous tip at first thought, a clean car can help you avoid an accident. Many people have accidents when they try to look for something in a cluttered car while driving. Accidents also happen when you cannot see well. For example, a dirt layer on the inside of your windshield can be almost blinding when the Southern California sun is setting. Clean the trash out of your car, and put any items that you may need such as sunglasses in an easy-to-reach place before you leave. Clean your windows and windshield on the outside and inside.
If you want to make driving safety fun and educational for your family, ask your kids to watch for pedestrians every time you approach a sidewalk. Test their knowledge to see if they know when it is safe to drive forward or turn. Ask them to help watch for people who may be stepping out from parallel-parked vehicles or in parking lots. This adds extra incentive to drive safely and helps teach them some valuable driving practices for the future.