Because of the perfect way March 17 shows up on a Friday this year, you get multiple days to party and wear green to commemorate St. Patrick's Day, on the Saturday before (March 11) and on the actual day when we celebrate.

Beware of drivers under the influence this weekend

And that just means two more days of intoxicated humans have the potential to make bad decisions.

Don't even think about having a drink, a smoke, or an edible and getting behind the wheel this upcoming St. Patty's Day weekend, because the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office will be out enforcing all traffic laws and watching for impaired drivers.

This year, St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday, and that means more parties throughout the weekend. If you’ve been drinking, using cannabis or any other impairing drug, make the smart choice and plan for a sober driver to get you and your friend’s home safely. Before you put your keys in the ignition, remind yourself: “Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. -Sheriff Gary Caruana

Winnebago County Sheriff Deputies will be actively enforcing seatbelt laws, especially at night since it's statistically the time when the fewest number of people are wearing them.

Speeding and dangerous distractions like texting and driving will also be "strictly enforced," according to the Winnebago County Sheriff.

Other tips for a safe celebration of St. Patrick's Day from the Winnebago County Sheriff include:

  • Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you serve is involved in an impaired driving crash.
  • Make sure all guests designate a sober driver in advance or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.
  • Serve lots of food and include lots of non-alcoholic beverages at the party.
  • Keep the phone numbers for local cab companies handy and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving drunk.
  • Designate a sober driver before the party begins and give that person your keys.
  • If you do not have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home, call a cab, sober friend or family member to pick you up or just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
  • Never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive drunk.
  • Always buckle up.

So if you plan to consume alcohol or cannabis, make sure you've got a ride home or use a ride-share app.

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