Stay Safe on St. Patrick’s Day: Tips to Avoid Car Accidents

St. Patrick’s Day Accidents

Impaired driving and drunk driving on St Patrick's Day holiday period
For many Americans, the month of March brings to mind one very joyous holiday: St. Patrick’s Day. For better or worse, the holiday has become associated with drinking, and traffic crashes with drunk drivers are more common. From 2017 to 2021, 272 lives were lost during the St. Patrick’s Day period from fatal drunk driving crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

If you or your friends and family plan to celebrate March 17th, don’t test your luck. A car accident can leave you hurt, in financial trouble, and with emotional trauma. For free legal advice, speak to our experienced car accident lawyer at The Law Offices of Daniel Kim in a free consultation. 


History of St. Patrick’s Day

St Patrick's day period
Also known as the Feast of Saint Patrick, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th to honor the death of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Over many years, it has evolved into a celebration of Irish culture, shamrocks, leprechauns, and drinking. 

With large Irish American communities, cities like New York and Boston began hosting their own parades and festivities, which today attract more than 150,000 visitors. Even smaller cities and towns join in on the fun, offering Irish-themed brunches, family-friendly events, marathons, and more. 


Drunk Driving Accidents Spike on St. Patrick’s Day

Drivers involved in drunk driving crashes increases on St Patrick's Day
Fatal crashes involving alcohol increase by 16.1% during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period, according to a LendingTree study. The study analyzed fatal accidents over the span of 15 years, and found a spike in accidents from March 16 to 18.

Many fatal drunk driving car crashes involved young adults ages 21 to 24. Young drivers are less experienced and more prone to reckless driving behavior like speeding and running red lights. Fatal hit-and-run accidents also increased by 12.5% over the holiday. Pedestrians and bicyclists are at high risk of suffering a serious injury or death in a hit-and-run accident. 

St. Patrick’s Day accidents don’t just extend to people who drive cars. Fatal accidents with motorcycles and trucks surge during the holiday – 14.1% and 9.9%, respectively. Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to serious and catastrophic injury, as they lack the protection of a vehicle. 


St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in California

St Patricks Day Holiday
While not as world famous as Chicago, Boston, or New York, there are several St. Patrick’s Day parades and festivals in California where you can feel the luck of the Irish. 

San Francisco

Around 100,000 people are expected to attend the San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival, one of the largest of its kind in the world. Now in its 174th year, the parade is hosted by the United Irish Societies. The theme this year is “UniteSF.” Being a cultural melting pot, the city of San Francisco is celebrating diverse cultures this year through music, art, food, dance, and culture. Alongside traditional Irish music, visitors can enjoy mariachi bands and African drums. 

The parade begins at 11:30am at 2nd and Market Street and ends at Civic Center Plaza. Following the parade, there is a free music festival from 2pm to 6pm. 

Hermosa Beach 

Downtown Hermosa Beach is awash in green for their 28th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Fido fans will get a kick out of seeing copper-hued Irish Setter pups from the Irish Setters Club of Southern California. 

The parade route begins at Valley Drive near City Hall, heads west on Pier Avenue, and finishes at Hermosa Avenue and 10th Street. After the parade, head to Pier Plaza for some family fun. The parade is from 11am to 1pm, while the festivities continue until 4pm. 

San Diego 

The 42nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival will be held on Saturday, March 16, 2024 from 9am to 6pm. The parade starts at 10:30am at Fifth Avenue and Laurel Street and will feature floats, marching bands, antique cars, and more. This year’s theme is “Unity with Peace in Ireland, and Beyond.” After the parade, visitors can wander through Balboa Park to enjoy craft vendors, Irish dance, and music. 

Feeling sporty? Participate in the 5K Leprechaun Run through downtown Pacific Beach. Held on the same Saturday as the parade, participants will receive a Leprechaun Run t-shirt, medal, and complimentary drink upon registration. Get to the finish line under the rainbow! The 5K run starts at 9am. There is also a Kids 1K Run at 10:30am. 


Ways to Stay Safe This St. Paddy’s Weekend

Prevent drunk driving crashes and deadly consequences
If you plan celebrating St. Paddy’s Day, remember to drink responsibly. There are serious consequences of a DUI, including fines, up to 6 months in jail, and license suspension. DUI offenders will also face a substantial increase of their car insurance for at least three years. For sober drivers, remain vigilant. There will be more people and cars on the road, so it is important to stay focused and alert.

Here are ways you can enjoy St. Patrick’s Day safely: 

  • Do not drive if you’ve been drinking. Even small amounts of alcohol can affect your judgment and coordination. 
  • If you plan to drink, call a friend, assign a designated driver, or take a taxi or Uber home. 
  • If you are a pedestrian, do not walk alone. There is safety in numbers. 
  • Always wear a seatbelt. It doesn’t matter how far you are going. 
  • Do not accept a drink from a stranger or leave it unattended. 
  • Drink water and other non-alcoholic beverages if you plan to consume alcohol. 
  • Call law enforcement immediately if you see a drunk driver on the road. 


Do You Need an Attorney?

Drunk driving crash St Patrick's Day Holiday period
A St. Patrick’s Day celebration can turn dangerous or deadly if you are in an accident with a drunk driver. If negligence played a part, you may be able to recover financial compensation for your injuries. 

Our car accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Daniel Kim can help you file a claim against the at-fault driver. We have connections with the top healthcare providers so you receive the best possible treatment. While you recover, our legal team will work hard to get you the outcome you deserve. We have offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Jose, and many other California cities. Call our personal injury law firm today for a free consultation.