There are a lot of interesting stories behind why people drink on St.Patrick’s Day. One Irish legend has it that St.Patrick was visiting an Inn when the innkeeper gave him a glass of whiskey that was less than full. St.Patrick wanted to teach the innkeeper about generosity, so he told him there was a monster in the cellar that fed on greed and dishonesty, and in order to banish him forever, the man must be more generous.
The next time St.Patrick visited the Inn, he found all patrons had whiskey glasses filled to overflowing, so he went down to the cellar and banished the demon for the innkeeper. In honor of this lesson on generosity, everyone must down a glass of whiskey on St.Patrick’s Day. The custom is called drowning the shamrock, and for luck you should float a leaf in your glass before you do your whiskey shot.
This is just one of the legends behind St.Patrick’s Day. It’s all well and good if you’d like to take a drink for luck in honor of St.Patrick, but if you do you better hand your car keys over to someone else. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants you to know that St.Patrick’s Day is one of the deadliest days for drunk driving in the United States, and between 2009 and 2013, 276 lives were lost due to drunk driving crashes. In 2013 alone, 31 people died in St.Patrick’s Day crashes.
How can you stay safe while still having fun on St.Patrick’s Day? Keep in mind that buzzed driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, and even if it doesn’t put you over the legal limit, that one whiskey shot can be enough to impair your coordination, affect you vision, and result in a crash. Your safest option is to always choose a designated driver or order a cab long before you need to make a choice about how to get home.
This St.Patrick’s Day you can honor St.Patrick’s generosity by choosing to be the sober driver for a friend in need. You may just save a life.