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Well, America, it’s that time again! Time to celebrate your birthday. Adorn the red, white, and blue and show some patriotic love. It’s also time for parties and lots of alcohol consumption!

Changes Due to the Pandemic

The past year and a half have been difficult for many trying to navigate and find a new balance between work and home life with the pandemic and all of its ramifications. 

If you’ll recall, many of the fireworks shows were halted last summer, and many restaurants were still partially or fully shut down, not to mention the shuttering of bars and nightclubs.  

But there is light shining into this tunnel even as things are not completely “back to normal.”  With vaccinations and re-openings (California, brace yourself for a continued influx of Zonies), there is much to be excited about this holiday weekend.

The Arizona Heat and Drinking

One thing that hasn’t changed at all here in Arizona?  The heat. 

We’ve already suffered through multiple 110+ degree days, and there are undoubtedly more on the horizon. 

With the holiday weekend, many people will be drinking alcohol, and the combination of that with the heat can wreak havoc on your body. 

Remember a bit of advice we wrote several years ago about the effects of heat and alcohol consumption:

What Alcohol Does to Your Body in the Heat

The heat, by itself, can be dangerous, causing the human body to become dehydrated and suffer headaches, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. 

But on a day where barbecues and beers are almost as prevalent as fireworks and flags, we need to be extra cautious!  It’s important to recognize that alcohol consumption affects the human body in various ways

Alcohol is a diuretic and inhibits the hormone that tells your body to retain water—so your body does not conserve or reabsorb water as it normally would. 

Even if you may be ingesting more fluids than normal, your body is also working double-time to get rid of them.

As your body eliminates these fluids, it also loses electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and calcium, which are all needed in order for your body to function and give you energy. 

And consider that after heavier drinking, when you’re suffering from a hangover, it’s not abnormal for you to sweat—causing your body to lose more water and more salts–thereby perpetuating the dehydration and ill feelings. 

You feel worn out, tired, and have a headache.

Rehydration Options 

If you’re finishing off that last sip of beer in the sun and about to get a fresh, cold one, go inside for a bit and have a glass of water first.  And maybe eat some potato chips to replace some of the sodium and potassium you’ve been losing!

Keep your body happy so that you can enjoy the rest of the festivities with your family and friends!

Scientific research tells us that the first thing affected by alcohol consumption is judgment and reasoning. This might mean that we reach for another beer rather than a bottle of water when we’re thirsty, when we actually really need the H2O. Headaches, confusion and dizziness are effects of high heat as well as alcohol, so take these things into consideration when planning your holiday activities.

Here are a few tips for planning ahead when you’re basically living on the surface of the sun:

  • If you’re hosting or just attending a party or gathering, bring along an inexpensive case or two of bottled water. It will not go to waste and can avoid a risky trip to the store later after everyone’s had a few drinks.
  • Your steering wheel may be scorching, but driving with two fingers after an all-day backyard party may not be the best decision. Come rain, snow, or shine, police are always on patrol during this holiday for DUI offenders. Task forces all over the valley will be out and about looking for impaired drivers. Don’t take that risk.

And consider that after heavier drinking, when you’re suffering from a hangover, it’s not abnormal for you to sweat—causing your body to lose more water and more salts–thereby perpetuating the dehydration and ill feelings. You feel worn out, tired, and have a headache. 

DUI Penalties

Don’t chance driving impaired or with a BAC over .08—you can end up with a suspended license, jail time, interlock device, and $2000+ in fines. (Learn about Extreme DUI and Super Extreme DUI penalties in this blog)

Please make sure that you and your fellow firecrackers have a safe ride home.  Law enforcement will be patrolling the roads and lakes, and you should expect to see DUI checkpoints, like the ones on this map, throughout the Valley.

Fourth of July Holiday Deaths

4th of July is also one of the deadliest holidays for motorists and also one of the costliest for tax-payers because of an influx in DUI arrests and subsequent prosecutions.  

In 2019, law enforcement in Arizona arrested more than 500 people on suspicion of DUI.  Even though there were less than 200 arrests for DUI in 2020, you can expect that number to increase as we recover from Covid restrictions. 

The DUI arrest trends thus far in 2021 have been increased due to re-openings and reduced numbers of Covid-19 cases, and numerous police departments in Arizona will be conducting DUI task forces, such as in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson.

It’s also worth mentioning that even though recreational marijuana use is now legal in Arizona for those 21 and over, you can still be arrested for DUI if you are impaired to the slightest degree by marijuana or for anyone who is under 21 and has any amount of active THC or its impairing metabolite, hydroxyl-THC, in their system while driving.

From all of us here at the office have a Happy 4th, stay safe, drive sober, and always know your rights!