If you are asked to name the holiday that results in the most drinking and drinking-related charges, you might list New Year's Eve or the Fourth of July. However, for many people, the extended Thanksgiving weekend is right up there with these other holidays.
At first glance, this might not make sense. People return home, have a filling meal with their family members, and settle down for a snooze on the couch. Where does the drinking come in?
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving
Quite a few bars see an uptick in customers on the day before Thanksgiving. This is because old friends and classmates are in town and meeting with one another to catch up and chat. On this night, it is easy to lower your guard and to drink more than you realize. Moreover, this can happen to people of any age, from recent college graduates to senior citizens.
These get-togethers do not need to happen at bars to be risky, either. Many college students flock home and head to friends' houses to see old classmates. They may be used to binge drinking already at college. Even if they are not, the excitement of seeing pals again can result in them drinking too much. Also, because of underage DUI laws in Virginia, someone who bypasses the hard liquor and drinks only a little could still get charged with DUI if tests show a BAC of at least 0.02.
Family gatherings gone awry
Of course, Thanksgiving brings stress for many people. Alcohol can help ease the frustration, but what happens if you realize you need to run to the store at the last minute to pick up something? If you have been drinking on and off during the day, you might risk driving intoxicated, but the pressure of getting all the food you need can be great. Also, you could be at a higher risk of charges or accidents due to the fact that there are more cars on the road and a higher police presence.