Drinking & Walking Is More Dangerous Than Drinking & Driving

We've all heard about how dangerous it is to drink and drive. But did you know it's also dangerous to drink and walk? Walking it off is the alternative for a lot of over-doers, especially on New Year's Eve -- and especially since it's nearly impossible to get a cab that night. But if you look at the numbers it's actually more dangerous to drunk walk than it is to drunk drive!

Scary but true -- you are 8 times likely to die if you walk a mile drunk than if you drive that mile drunk. This is according to economist Steve Levitt, who wants to be clear about something up front: he is NOT at all advocating for driving while drunk. Both are horribly dangerous. He's just pointing out that walking is not the safe alternative we think it is. 


A report by Injury Protection shows that January 1 is the deadliest day of the year for pedestrians. If you're walking while drunk you can wander into traffic, mis-judge traffic lights, and underestimate how much time you need to cross the street. A Chicago trauma surgeon describes what happens on New Year's Day: 

I’d rather work New Year’s Eve than New Year Day. Because a lot of the time on New Year’s Day, that’s when people start to realize someone’s missing, where are they? And then they find them on the bottom of the stairs or the side of the road, injured.

All of this puts a chill up my spine because last year I actually did walk home on New Year's Eve! My husband and I walked about a mile home from a bar that night. Neither of us were drunk, but it's still a scary thought. There were no taxis around when we left.

So if you're not walking, what are your options? Well, there's the obvious "don't get skunkin' drunk." I'm serious about that one -- once you're past your early 20s it's kind of time to act with a little more dignity. I'm just saying. But okay, I know, it's the one time of the year for some. You could also stay where you are until you've sobered-up, if that's an option. You could stay at home or overnight if you're at a friend's place. But it looks like the smart thing to do is to have a plan for getting home safe, one way or another.

Are you going to be out on New Year's Eve? Did you know walking while drunk could be so dangerous?


Image via mrjorgan/Flickr

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