Avoid a Penalty on Super Bowl Sunday: Tips to Celebrate Safely

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Need to Know from SafeWise
  • Alcohol-related traffic fatalities are up to 74% higher on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • 46% of traffic fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday are alcohol-related.
  • Before and after the game are the most dangerous times to be on the road on Super Bowl Sunday.
a group of friends watching football game

Image: FatCamera, IStock

Next Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers face off against the Kansas City Chiefs for Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas, Nevada. Whether you're hosting a party, flying halfway around the world, or avoiding the event altogether, it's worth noting the risks around drunk and distracted driving on Super Bowl Sunday.

So grab the snacks, put on your team colors, and don't skip the commercials or these tips for surviving Super Bowl Sunday.

Super Bowl Sunday road fatalities

Traffic fatalities see a surge on Super Bowl Sunday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)) compared data from a 12-hour period (Sunday 6 p.m. to Monday 6 a.m.) on five previous Super Bowl Sundays between 2015 and 2019. These 60 hours saw a total of 244 traffic deaths—a significant increase when compared to the same 12-hour period one week before and one week after a Super Bowl Sunday when traffic deaths stood at 202 and 187, respectively.

While it's challenging to pinpoint the exact reasons for this spike in traffic fatalities on Super Bowl Sundays, alcohol consumption is considered a significant contributing factor. An analysis of NHTSA data shows that 46% of the 244 traffic deaths during the 12-hour period on those five Super Bowl Sundays were alcohol-related.

Comparing these findings to the Sundays one week before and one week after the five targeted Super Bowl Sundays reveals a stark contrast. in comparison to the week before and a staggering 82% higher than the following week.

Planning to drink? Don't get benched

Drunk driving, buzzed driving, distracted driving, it's all on the rise during the big game. Even if you're a safe driver, others around you may not be. If you plan on catching the Super Bowl away from home, play it safe.

  • Assign a designated driver
  • Call a ride share or taxi
  • Take public transit
  • Don't drive distracted or
  • under the influence

With people checking scores and texting friends or family, drinking isn't the only risk. Distracted driving is also a big risk on game night.

Even careful drinking could land you in trouble with different BAC limits across state lines. Remember, DUIs aren't just dangerous. They're expensive. After fines, attorneys fees, bail, court costs, and car insurance increases, you could be out $20,000.

On the visiting team? Watch the clock

Heading to a party or sports bar to catch the game? Be sure to time it right! With kickoff slated for 6:30 EST, drivers under the influence will be most active in the hours before and after the game between 2-6:30 pm EST and 8-10 p.m. EST.

If you can, skip the drive, call a ride-hailing service, or take public transit—taying off the road is the right play. In the event you do encounter a drunk driver on the road, know how to report them.

Home field advantage? Be a good teammate

If you're hosting this year, be a good teammate and serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic options for your guests. If anyone seems like they've had too much, call a ride-hailing service to drive them home or invite them to stay on the couch to sleep it off.

You can also plan for hosting some games or a movie after the game. Providing some distraction from drinks after the game could help your guests stay busy while the alcohol wears off.

Cheesy snacks, yelling at the TV, memorable commercials, and awesome halftime performances, football fan or not, Super Bowl Sunday can be a lot of fun! With a little bit of preparation and smart choices, you can avoid encounters with dangerous drivers and DUIs on the road.

Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
As a renter, pet-owner, and woman living alone, Katie McEntire takes safety seriously. She’s tested devices like pet cameras, home security systems, and GPS trackers in her own home and devices in the name of safety. In addition to testing, writing, and reviewing for SafeWise, she also makes videos for the site’s YouTube channel. She’s been featured on publications like TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at Overstock.com and Top Ten Reviews.

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