Recreational Accidents

Each year as our State warms under our ever present sun, vacationers, party seekers and recreational fun seekers stake out weekends and holidays for cookouts and pool parties.  And all too often alcohol is involved.  Statistically approximately 60% of us have at least an occasional drink during such weekends.  And, while many reports indicate that moderate drinking can actually be beneficial, it is important recognize the impact that alcohol can have upon our everyday activities.

We all understand the importance of not drinking and driving.  However, even if you are not planning on driving anywhere, it is important to stop and consider that performing just about any activity under the influence of alcohol can impair your ability to function.  Importantly, alcohol and hot weather can be a dangerous mix.  The effects of alcohol include the following symptoms of reduced reaction time; aggression, diminished coordination, balance, and physical abilities; impaired attention and judgment; reduced inhibitions, increased risk taking and/or impaired vision including reduced depth perception.

Unfortunately, each year alcohol can lead to unintended accidents and injuries including traffic injuries, falls, drowning, burns, firearm injuries and heat exhaustion. The effects that alcohol can have on injuries are staggering.  In 2005, there were over 1.6 million hospitalizations and over 4 million emergency room visits for alcohol related conditions. In fact, alcohol use was associated with the following statistics:
  • 20% of all water recreation related deaths;
  • nearly 50% of pedestrian related deaths;
  • nearly 50% of all water recreation injuries for both teen and adults;
  • 276 boating accidents in 2008 which lead to 124 deaths and 246 serious injuries.
When it comes to summer fun, people impaired by alcohol can misjudge swimming distances, the distances of oncoming traffic, how cold the water is, their own physical abilities, as well as their ability to operate a boat or golf cart. Combined with the side effects of increased risk taking and a lower response time, heat and alcohol can be a dangerous mix.

Warm weather magnifies the effects of alcohol causing heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.  Alcohol, which is a diuretic, promotes dehydration and interferes with your body’s ability to regulate its temperature.   Alcohol and heat also dilate or expand your blood vessels, increasing the risk of passing out. Thus please understand that you need to be aware of the dangers in order to safeguard your family. 
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