MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Thanksgiving Eve means many are planning to head to a local bar or restaurant to begin holiday celebrations. Bar owners say it’s often one of the busiest nights of the year, law enforcements says they’re keeping watch.
Nicknamed ‘Blackout Wednesday,’ the night before Thanksgiving has become one of the most popular drinking holidays. Bars say the extra traffic is welcomed but say it’s still important to stay safe if heading out.
Heading out and hitting the local bar, grabbing a seat and having a drink with family and friends. It’s a popular way to celebrate Thanksgiving Eve for many.
“Of course, with it being the holidays people sometimes go a little bit too far and it’s something we’ve got to keep an eye on,” says Troy Dechenne, General Manager with Shelter in Mount Pleasant.
Shelter has signs scattered around the bar to encourage patrons to be responsible and not drink and drive. Dechenne says the staff tries to be proactive with customers.
“We do tell all of the bartenders to keep an eye on the guests and if they’re drinking too much, then we’ll cut them off,” says Dechenne.
From open to close and then out the door, law enforcement says the increase is noticeable. Their biggest goal is keeping impaired drivers off the road.
“Unfortunately, we do see a rise in people drinking and driving around the holidays,” says Lance Corporeal Trooper Nick Pye with the South Carolina Highway Patrol. “Our main goal is to prevent fatalities.”
The biggest problem Trooper Pye says deputies with the Highway Patrol run into is fatalities. Trooper Pye says there are simple ways to prevent them.
“If you’re making plans with friends to meet them somewhere then you’ve got enough time to make a plan for a sober ride home,” says Trooper Pye. “Whether it be Uber, Lyft or a family member coming to get you.”
And from the bar to the roads and the hospital, officials across the board say the message is simple.
“You just don’t want to destroy a wonderful holiday by a tragedy,” says Scott.
It’s a time to celebrate and gather with family and friends but before you get behind the wheel, officials say to pick up the phone and phone a friend.
“One bad decision of drinking and driving and you having to live with taking someone else’s life is something that you don’t want to take part in,” says Trooper Pye.
“Hope everybody has a good thanksgiving, have a good time but just be safe out there,” says Dechenne.
If you plan on going out, officials say to try and schedule a ride or set something up with a friend or family member. Law enforcement agencies say the plan to be out in full force across the area in an effort to keep people safe.