As March approaches, people are getting ready for St. Patrick's Day parades, pub-hopping, and pints. But it's best not to push your luck this year: law enforcement is keeping a close eye on the roads. According the Colorado Department of Transportation, 471 people were arrested on DUI charges across the state last year over St. Patrick's Day weekend. Though that number decreased slightly from the past year, Colorado law enforcement agencies are dedicated to keeping the roads safer than ever. 

You can avoid a DUI and help keep Colorado roads safer this St. Patrick's day by following these tips:

1. Plan ahead

Before you go out, make a game plan for the day and/or night. For every place you want go, make sure that you have a safe way of reaching the destination. Try sticking to places that are within walking distance or a very short drive from your house. Doing so will make it easier for you to find a safe way home and still have a fun time.

2. Designate a Driver

Don't let your celebration include driving. If you're going out with a group of friends, pick a designated driver to take the wheel for the evening. You can also consider calling a cab to get you from place to place, and home when the night is over. Denver and many Colorado cities offer Sober Ride or Designated Driver Services to keep you safe and prevent DUIs, and they get you home safely at a fairly low rate. You can find out what services are available in your area by checking the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's sober ride list.

3. Be Aware of Others

Though you need to make sure that you celebrate safely on St. Patrick's Day, it's important to keep an eye on your friends and family, too. Whether you have to be the keeper of their keys or the one who cuts them off, you need to prevent them from injuring themselves and others throughout the night. And remember: even if you're sober, other drivers may not be. You need to be extra cautious as you drive. Report any drunken drivers to local law enforcement to keep the roads safe for you and others.

4. Know Your Limits

There isn't any reason why you shouldn't enjoy yourself this St. Patrick's day. Still, in order to keep yourself safe and prevent a DUI, you need to know your limits. Try alternating drinks with water or other non-alcoholic beverages, and slow yourself down if you feel like you've had too much. Try eating before and during the celebrations, and drink at your own pace.  

You'll hear it again and again: do not get behind the wheel if you've had too much to drink (or smoke... this is Colorado, after all). So this St. Patrick's day, keep everyone safe, avoid a hefty DUI fine and loads of regret by celebrating responsibly.

Intro photo via Flickr by DUI Bail Bonds LV.

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