HOUSTON (February 26, 2016)

The kick-off of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo marks the start of the city’s annual weeks-long extravaganza of mutton-busting, bull-riding, star-studded concerts and, of course, barbecue. Every year, more than 2.5 million people descend on NRG Park to take part in the spectacle of one of the Bayou City’s biggest events of the year. Amid the non-stop entertainment, free-flowing beer taps and heavy crowds, the Memorial Hermann Texas Trauma Institute care team wants to remind RodeoHouston visitors how to stay safe and drive sober this season.

  • Drink responsibly. Pace yourself. Know your limits and avoid consuming too many alcoholic beverages in a short period of time. There are many factors that influence your blood alcohol level, including weight and gender. But in general, men should consume no more than two drinks in the first hour and no more than one every hour afterward. Women should limit themselves to no more than one drink every hour to avoid intoxication. Have a meal beforehand, keep snacks handy while drinking, and make sure to sip on water, soft drinks or sports drinks between alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated. 
  • Plan your ride. Designate a sober driver, call a cab, or plan on using a rideshare service to get to and from the rodeo grounds. Prices for ridesharing services like Uber often spike during events with heavy attendance, so be sure to incorporate the extra expense into your evening budget.
  • Never drink and drive. Those who drive under the influence put themselves and others at risk. Every 51 minutes, one person in the United States dies in a motor vehicle collision involving an intoxicated driver, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  
  • Stay alert. Beware of your surroundings while navigating the rodeo grounds and parking lots. Foot traffic is especially heavy during RodeoHouston and pedestrians aren’t always paying attention. Make sure you stay aware and alert at all times. This means avoiding texting and driving, or any other possible distractions.
  • Walk safely. Make sure to always cross the street at corners or crosswalks and walk on sidewalks or paths whenever possible. If you must walk in the street, stay near the edge of the road and face oncoming traffic. If you are driving, be sure to slow down and stay alert.
  • Get rest. With so much to see and do, visitors often plan on attending events multiple nights in a row. Make sure you continue to get enough rest between shows. The CDC recommends adults get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.

“The rodeo is always a fun-filled event for the entire family, but unfortunately we typically see a spike in trauma cases this time of year, usually related to intoxication,” said Dr. Samuel Prater, UTHealth emergency medicine physician and medical director of emergency services at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. “Visitors can help keep themselves and others safe by making smart choices, drinking in moderation, and handing over the keys when they’re drinking at all.”