By Leah Walton, NTSB Safety Advocate
Super Bowl LIV is almost here! Whether you’re a diehard 49ers or Chiefs fan, or you simply watch for the commercials and halftime show, the play clock is just about to hit 0. For many football fans, driving will be part of the game plan both before and after the Super Bowl, regardless of if they’re driving over 3,000 miles to Hard Rock Stadium or simply going across town to a playoff party. Either way, safe transportation plans must be part of every driver’s Super Bowl game plan.
Football is a game driven by statistics. As Chiefs’ Head Coach Andy Reid takes in stats for his Super Bowl game plan, consider these highway safety facts as you prepare your own playbook.
- Each year, 6,400 fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver. Making sure you have adequate rest before getting behind the wheel should be an essential part of your plan.
- Every day, nearly 29 people in the U.S. die in alcohol-impaired crashes – that’s 1 person every 50 minutes!
- In 2016, 44 percent of drivers killed in crashes tested positive for drugs.
- In 2017, 3,166 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. That’s 9 percent of all highway fatalities that year!
- It takes just 4 to 5 seconds to quickly look at that text that popped up on your phone. If you’re driving 55 mph, you can drive the length of a football field in that time!
- Traffic deaths increase 41 percent on Super Bowl Sunday due to impaired, drowsy, and distracted driving.
So, what should your Super Bowl transportation game plan look like? First, drive sober or designate a sober driver. Recognize that even a moderate amount of alcohol or certain drugs will make driving unsafe. If you don’t have a designated driver, a taxi, public transportation, or rideshare charge will be a minor cost compared to a DUI—or worse. Second, don’t drive fatigued. Immediately after the game and before work the next day, check yourself to see if you are rested enough to drive safely. If you got less than 7 to 9 hours of sleep, recognize the need to take breaks, take a nap, or find another mode of transportation. Third, don’t drive distracted—the postgame highlights, commentary, and selfies can wait until you safely arrive at your destination.
Whether you’re rooting for the 49ers, Chiefs, or simply a good game, make sure you have a designated sober driver in your Super Bowl lineup, and follow this gameday rulebook!