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Super Sunday is super dangerous on California roads

The Super Bowl is this Sunday, Feb. 1, and, while it isn’t quite a national holiday, there is a little something for everyone: football, of course, but also the half-time show and the much-anticipated (and very expensive) commercials. This is a day for get-togethers with friends and family.

Those get-togethers may well start long before the kickoff and wrap up long after Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth have signed off. That’s the fun. That’s also the problem.

Super Bowl Sunday has the dubious distinction of being the most dangerous Sunday during January and February — at least in California. The state’s Department of Insurance, the Auto Club of Southern California and the California Highway Patrol have just released the results of a study of drunk driving crashes on Sundays during the first two months of the year.

From 2009 to 2013, motorists Super Bowl Sunday had a significantly greater risk of being in an accident related to alcohol. Statewide, the number of accidents increased 77 percent from an average Sunday to game day. Los Angeles County saw a 57 percent jump, and San Diego Count a 117 percent increase. (The study did not break out data for the San Francisco area.)

The calculations do not include all accidents: Accidents that resulted in property damage alone were removed from the data set. These accidents all resulted in injuries or deaths.

There are a few easy ways to protect yourself and your loved ones. If you are hosting, serve plenty of food and have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages available. Consider closing the bar an hour or so before the game is over.

Make sure your guests are OK to drive before they leave. Be prepared to make up the couch for last-minute overnight guests. Have taxi or sober cab numbers handy, and do not hesitate to take someone’s keys away. You are doing them and everyone else on the road a favor.

If you are out at a bar or a friend’s house, designate a driver ahead of time. Hand your keys over to your host or a friend if you have had anything to drink. Set your watch or your cellphone alarm to remind you to stop drinking an hour before you plan to leave.

It’s a lot easier to avoid an accident than it is to clean up after one.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Sunday is the Super Bowl of drunk driving, crash data show,” Jerry Hirsch, Jan. 27, 2015

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