June 18th, 2024

MADD reminding motorists to drive sober


By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on December 23, 2022.

With the holiday season upon us there comes time for celebrations and festivities, which can also mean consuming alcohol and being merry.

MADD Canada is reminding Canadians to take a moment during the party season to make the commitment to always drive sober and think about those who have lost loved ones or suffered injuries as a result of impaired driving.

“We always encourage a safe ride home, no matter whether you are at a house party or going out with friends to a pub or bar, plan ahead,” said Anita Huchala, MADD Lethbridge and Area President and Victim Support Volunteer. “Especially with the cold weather right now, taxis are running 24/7. Make sure you make that phone call and arrange a time ahead. Set a few extra dollars aside to help pay for that cab. Or if you are hosting a holiday party, maybe have people stay overnight or ask for somebody to be the sober driver to make sure everybody gets home safely.”

Stressing the importance of driving safe, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) also notes a safe, sober driver means more than just consuming alcohol.

“The bottom line is, impaired is impaired. Whether you are consuming alcohol, cannabis, other drugs like prescription drugs, there is a warning on those labels that says do not operate motor vehicles or heavy equipment, there is a reason. That is a form of impairment,” said Huchala. “People need to keep that in mind, and not just during the holiday season. At any given time, that is definitely important when getting behind the wheel – we are 100 per cent alert and sober.”

Driving during winter weather conditions can be challenging enough as it is, and MADD hopes to limit the factors.

“With the weather conditions that we have been experiencing here in southern Alberta, always be prepared. Wear proper coats, boots, mittens, have a safety blanket in your vehicle, make sure to even have booster cables, you never know when you may need those,” said Huchala. “But when you add drinking to it, or being impaired, now you have icy roads and can be stranded too. We are fortunate here in Lethbridge to have Operation Red Nose and quite a few taxi services. I don’t see why there is any reason people should not be taking alternative measures to get home safely.”

Working closely with those affected by impaired driving, MADD hopes everyone makes the safety of themselves and others a priority.

“I always think of the families that we serve, that have lost somebody to impaired driving or have been injured themselves. You hear their stories and you feel for them because you know that what they are experiencing was 100 per cent preventable,” said Huchala. “We also encourage people to always call 911 if they see or suspect impaired driving. Do not follow them, just pull over safely and get as much information, and allow the police to do their job.”

MADD wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season, for more information or to volunteer check out their Facebook, Twitter, and website at madd.ca.

“We are always looking for volunteers, do not hesitate to reach out to our Lethbridge chapter,” said Huchala. “We have lots of events that we are going to be doing in the new year, so we are preparing to get that all organized and we have lots of work to be done.”

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