Irish whiskey! Guinness! Green shirts! Silly green hats! For many people, St. Patrick’s Day, which this year arrives on Friday, March 17, 2017, is a time to let loose, party, and drink—sometimes to excess. Bars in downtown San Luis Obispo have traditionally opened as early as 6 or 7 in the morning on St. Patrick’s Day, the better to accommodate people who want to get a super-early start on their holiday festivities. Expect lines to get into McCarthy’s Irish Pub to form even early in the day.
If wine is more your thing than beer, this year you might enjoy seeing “The Wine Life” at the SLO Film Fest and attending the pre-film tasting and the after-film party, which features both wine and desserts.
Or if you want to do some networking while drinking your green beer, consider the 2017 Business Expo in the evening in nearby Los Osos.
There is plenty of fun to be had on St. Patrick’s Day, but the holiday also has a dark side. Two years ago, eight students were injured on St. Patrick’s Day when the roof of a garage collapsed from the weight of 50 party-goers at an event put on by a Cal Poly fraternity.
Overcrowded parties and the health risks of extreme intoxication are not the only dangers of the holiday. The roads on St. Patrick’s Day are dangerous places for people who foolishly get behind the wheel of their vehicle when they are too impaired to drive safely.
Whatever you do for St. Patrick’s Day, if you are going to go out and drink, be smart and make plans ahead of time for how you will get home safely without having to drive. The number of accidents caused by drunk drivers skyrockets on St. Patrick’s Day, with drivers who had at least twice the legal limit causing three-quarters of the fatal accidents. Someone died every 74 minutes in past Saint Patrick’s Days because of alcohol-related vehicle crashes, and 266 people died of drunk-driving related accidents from 2010 to 2014.
Don’t become a statistic, and don’t risk endangering others by driving after a day or night of drinking. Be smart and and find a safe way to get home:
- Use an app to get a ride home. Options include SLO Safe Ride, which traditionally has a fleet of vehicles at the ready on St. Patrick’s Day, but there’s also Uber and Lyft.
- Call a cab. If you don’t want to use an app, go old school and call a cab company.
- Have a designated driver in your group. This tried-and-true option works well if you have a non-drinking companion or someone who can be trusted not to imbibe.
- Stay overnight in a hotel that’s within walking distance of where you will be enjoying the festivities. Make a reservation now before the rooms get booked up.
- Another way to stay safe on St. Patrick’s Day is to skip the drinking altogether. Get some cardiovascular exercise by taking Irish dance lessons or going for a hike in the Irish Hills. Go out for some Irish stew, but skip the beer.
With just a little forethought, you can have a fantastic, and safe, St. Patrick’s Day. That way the luck of the Irish will be with you on this St. Patrick’s Day.