For centuries, the winter season has been a time for drinking. The tradition carries over to modern-day times. However, that can make the winter a particularly dangerous time of year. Find out everything that you should know about drinking alcohol in the winter. The truth might not be what you expect,
The History of Drinking in the Winter
For centuries, people in cold climates have been drinking alcohol in the winter to warm themselves. In a country like Russia, the temperatures can drop well below zero for months at a time. The locals turn to alcohol to warm themselves. However, alcohol might not be the warming agent that you believe it to be.
Nevertheless, other countries had similar winter drinking traditions. In Britain, they also suffered from long winter. They would also drink to stave off the cold. However, they often used warmed drinks to combat the cold. Drinks like a wassail bowl and hot gin punch were warm like tea but had the added warmth of alcohol. On a cold night, a warm cocktail gave everyone in the bar comfort. The tradition started years ago, but it still lives on today. If you go to a British pub in the winter, you are likely to find several people drinking warm cocktails.
A more modern winter drinking tradition involves holiday parties. Across much of the world, the holidays are a time for drinking. During holiday parties, hosts stock up the bar and serve festive beverages. Drinks like Kahlua and eggnog are must-haves at holiday events. For this reason, people tend to drink more in the winter. It’s part of the holiday tradition.
What Really Happens?
It is true that alcohol makes your cheeks red and gives you a certain glow. However, that glow does not signify warmth. Drinking tends to dilate your peripheral blood vessels – the ones near your skin. As more blood flows to those vessels, your cheeks become warmer, and you might even feel warmer. However, your core body temperature actually lowers. The increased blood flow to your cheeks takes blood and warmth away from your core. Instead of keeping your internal organs warm, the alcohol keeps your cheeks warm. On your list of priorities, the warmth of your cheeks should not be at the top.
Drinking alcohol in the winter actually makes you colder. When you head outside after a night of drinking, your core temperature can drop dramatically. This makes you feel colder, and can also lead to hypothermia. Winter drinking can cause more harm than good.
What are the Dangers of Drinking Alcohol in the Winter?
When you drink in the winter, you might be putting yourself more at risk than you do during the summer. Specifically, you put yourself at risk for a DUI accident. Drinking and driving any time of the year is dangerous. However, the dangers in winter are particularly deadly. With difficult driving conditions, the roads make it hard for even a sober driver to stay safe. You need to be on the lookout for ice and snow. If you’re not careful, you could easily end up in an accident.
Whether the accident is the fault of the weather or the fault of your insobriety, you will have consequences. After your accident, a police officer can determine your BAC. If it is over the legal limit, then the officer can arrest you and charge you with a DUI. That’s assuming that your accident isn’t too serious. Sadly, winter accidents tend to result in serious injuries and sometimes death. When you drink and drive in the winter, you take a great risk.
Another risk to drinking alcohol in the winter is the risk of hypothermia. When you drink too much, you tend to make bad decisions. This could cause you to decide to walk home in the cold. Or, it could cause you to fall asleep in your car. While these incidents would not normally have negative consequences, they do in the winter. You could end up with hypothermia. The alcohol could numb your senses enough that you don’t even realize how cold you are. Because hypothermia sets in quickly, you might not realize it until it’s too late.
Slip and Fall Accidents
There’s also the risk of an injury. Slip and fall accidents on the ice are common occurrences. When you’re drunk, the risk of slipping in the winter is even greater. It doesn’t take much. As you walk out of the bar, you could find yourself slipping on a slushy pile of snow or a slippery patch of ice. As a result, you could end up with a significant injury. Falling on the ice often results in fractured or broken bones. If you have a particularly bad fall, you could have a head or spinal injury.
In the winter, drinking in excess is particularly dangerous. You should take precautions and be especially cautious this time of year. If you drink carefully and don’t drive, then you can avoid the repercussions of winter drinking.