It’s no secret that drunk drivers cause a large percentage of America’s car accidents. According to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-related driving accidents in 2014. This accounts for nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths for that year. Over 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics in 2014. Those numbers don’t even account for drivers who weren’t caught or those who caused accidents where no one was killed.
It’s easy for someone leaving a party or bar to think they’re fine to drive, but the above statistics prove otherwise. Driving while impaired can have a devastating outcome—and not just to the driver. Everyone who shares the road with that driver is at risk for being in a terrible accident.
Any time we get behind the wheel, we have a chance of running into a drunk driver. Obviously, we can’t live our lives afraid of driving, but what we can do is keep in mind these tips for avoiding drivers on the road who may be drunk or otherwise impaired:
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Avoid Driving at Night Whenever Possible
It should come as no surprise that most alcohol-related accidents happen after dark. The wee hours of night are the prime drinking hours, after all. If you make it a habit to avoid driving at nighttime, you can have an easier time avoiding getting into an accident with a drunk driver.
Stick to the Right Side
Always keep a safe distance from other vehicles, especially if one seems to be swerving a bit. Try and keep to the right side of your lane as oncoming traffic approaches. If an impaired driver ends up swerving towards you, this can minimize the risks of an accident.
Avoid Driving During Popular Drinking Holidays/Days of the Week
There are definitely certain times of the year when drunk drivers are more likely to be on the road. These holidays include New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, and Super Bowl Sunday. The entire month of December can also be bad, especially right around Christmastime.
Along the same line, weekends are worse than weekdays, of course, especially Saturday and Friday night. If you make a habit of going out a lot on the weekends, try and come home before it gets too late.
Caution saves lives. Don’t ever assume that a driver will do what they should do or what they’re intending to do (in the case of using a turn signal, for example). Drivers do make mistakes and can be careless. This is especially true for drunk drivers who may find their reaction speed to be impaired. Be extra cautious when waiting for other drivers to take action. Wait until the driver commits to an action before reacting.
Avoid Rural Highways
It should also come as no surprise that a large percentage of car accidents occur on rural, two-lane highways that are often found in the country. These roads are not usually well-maintained and offer frequent bumps and curves, poor visibility, and can be a popular travel destination for wildlife. These roads can be dangerous to sober drivers and even more dangerous to drunk drivers. Stick to the major, safer roads whenever possible—especially after dark.
Don’t Tolerate Drunk Driving
If you have a friend who sometimes drives after they’ve been drinking, you owe it to the safety of your friend and everyone who shares the road with them to stop them from getting behind the wheel. Ask someone else to drive, suggest a carpool, or call a taxi. Keeping our streets safe from drunk drivers is a community effort.
Also, report suspicious driving behavior when you come across it. If you spot a car that’s being driven erratically, there’s a good chance the driver is impaired. When drunk drivers are reported, they might not want to drive under the influence again.
While behind the wheel, we should all do everything we can to keep our passengers safe, ourselves safe, and those we share the road with safe. If everyone practiced this golden rule, there would be far less accidents on the streets.
Unfortunately, horrendous accidents with drunk drivers can and do happen every day across the U.S. If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident with a drunk driver and feel that the case was not handled correctly by the insurance company, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit. Contact Louisville, KY drunk driving accident lawyer Tad Thomas and his expert team at Thomas Law Offices today to see if you’re eligible to open a case and potentially receive compensation.