Celebrate, but use common sense please

You can never be too cautious.

That is true today, as many make plans to bring in 2016 with robust merriment.

It is our hope that while celebrating that every citizen apply common sense to their approach, ensuring that they, nor anyone else, will become victims.

For many of us, New Year’s Eve will include a party or two, a lot of revelry and perhaps some alcohol. While how one spends their holiday is their business, we do urge more than a modicum of common sense so that merriment doesn’t turn deadly.

That means applying caution to any celebration, stopping way short of drinking yourself into oblivion, refraining from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming any alcoholic beverage and slowing down to ensure that you arrive at whatever destination you have your sights on safely.

The N.C. Highway Patrol adheres to that mantra every day of the year, adding the exclamation point to big travel days such as July 4th, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and, particularly New Year’s Eve. We are here today to echo their heartfelt pleas. So, too, do members of the Sampson County Sheriff’s Department and the Clinton Police Department.

No one is looking merely to give a ticket. What officers are attempting to do is remind us that drinking and driving, speeding or texting while behind the wheel is often a deadly decision with unfathomable consequences. Checkpoints, reminders and a strong law enforcement presence encourage us to find — and use — our common sense during the celebrations ahead.

It is true that the life you save by using that common sense could be your own. It is even truer that the life you save could be that of a loved one or, in some cases, even an innocent stranger sharing the road with you.

The temptation is certainly there to throw caution to the wind during this holiday season. So many times we believe we are immune to the problems that could be caused by a drunk driver, thinking, perhaps, that the one, two or three drinks we might have surely don’t move us into that category.

Those who think that way would be wrong. Alcohol impairs your senses, slows you down and gives you a false sense of confidence that leaves one thinking we would be fine to drive, even when we aren’t.

For those who choose to ignore the solid advice not to mix driving with alcohol, speed or unwise traffic decisions, there will be a law enforcement presence out and about to help ensure that we make wise choices or pay the penalty of not doing so. It’s not likely they will catch every drunk driver, but they’ll catch some. And, it is our hope that their very presence will make people think twice before doing something foolish and, unfortunately, something deadly.

Of course, we are relying heavily on good people to act with good sense, too, being responsible for their actions even before they take them. It’s OK to celebrate and even partake, just be wise when doing so.

The best way to avoid the chance of causing harm is to avoid the temptation altogether. If you are going to drink, give up your keys to someone else, call a cab or plan to spend the night wherever you are celebrating.

Caution is the best advice. Please heed it.