Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a major issue during the winter holidays. There’s a lot of parties, tons of festivities and the “holiday cheer” is usually flowing freely. Consequently, there are around 25,000 people involved in drunk driving accidents every year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

The last thing you want to do during the holidays is to get into an accident and end up facing charges for drunk driving. Let’s talk about how you can keep your loved ones — and yourself — out of court. Here are some ideas:

1. Make a pact with a friend

Make a deal with one of your close friends or relatives that neither of you will drive after drinking during the holidays. Knowing you made a promise to someone important can override any impulsive actions. Plus, you and your buddy can agree to pick each other up whenever necessary — any time of day or night, no questions asked.

2. Put Uber and Lyft on your phone in advance

If you haven’t used Uber or Lyft before, you should download the apps and make sure that your payment information and home address are already in there. That will make it much easier to order a ride if you’ve had a few drinks and will reduce the temptation to drive yourself home.

3. Check for free transportation on special days

Many communities band together and offer free transportation home for anybody who needs them during the holiday season in an effort to reduce drunk driving. For example, here in Longview, there are free rides available on New Year’s Eve anywhere within the city limits. Check your local community pages online and search Google for more options.

It’s always safest to forego drinking if you have to drive later — but mistakes do happen. If you find yourself in legal trouble due to a drunk driving charge, take the necessary steps to protect your interests.