Each and every day, statistics show that approximately 30 people will die in the US in drunk-driving accidents. This results in over 10,000 fatalities per year and hundreds of thousands of injuries too, and in many cases, perfectly innocent and sober drivers or passengers fall victim to the reckless actions of those who choose to drive while intoxicated.
Driving after drinking is never a wise idea. When you drink, your reaction times are lowered, your concentration levels start to slip, and your general ability to make decisions and respond to the road around you becomes quite hazy and unreliable. All of this combines to make any drunk driver an unsafe presence to be around.
Worryingly, over 4 million Americans have admitted to drinking and driving, and there are many people out there who feel that the risks are exaggerated or argue that their driving skills won’t be affected too severely by alcohol. However, the statistics show that drunk-driving always raises the risk of accidents and injuries occurring, which is why it can be punished so harshly across the US.
Even if you would never entertain the idea of drinking and driving yourself, it’s important to know how to deal with drunk drivers you might encounter on the road. With that in mind, let’s look at some simple tips to bear in mind if you ever find yourself driving behind or beside someone who is under the influence.
Know the Signs
One of the simplest ways to avoid drunk drivers and reduce the risk of finding yourself involved in an accident or personal injury lawsuit is to look out for the signs of DUI behavior. If you know how drunk drivers tend to behave, it’s much easier to spot them ahead of time and take preventative action to keep yourself safe.
Some of the most common signs of a drunk driver include weaving between lanes and not being able to drive in a straight line, randomly changing speed, driving excessively slowly, taking a long time to pull out at green lights or stop signs, ignoring lights, and signs altogether, or generally breaking the rules of the road.
Know the Risks
As well as the key signs of drunk driving, it’s also important for everyone to understand and appreciate the risks that a drunk driver can pose. As stated earlier, alcohol has some serious effects on the human body and can majorly impair one’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle in a range of different ways.
Drunk drivers usually have much slower reaction times, so if a pedestrian steps out in front of them or a light changes color, it might take them a little longer to take the correct course of action. They may also have difficulty making sensible decisions or lose focus easily, making it so much easier for accidents to occur.
Don’t forget that if you do end up in an accident, not only do you risk personal injury, but you may find yourself having to contact personal injury lawyers like Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C., and begin legal proceedings.
Practice Defensive Driving
Defensive driving, as defined by the Safe Practices for Motor Vehicles Operations, is “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others”. It’s essentially a form of driving designed to protect yourself and others by following road rules to the letter and taking action when necessary to keep yourself safe and reduce the risk of collision.
This is especially important when you encounter drunk or intoxicated drivers on the road. Knowing how to drive defensively by keeping your distance, checking for upcoming hazards, and taking preventative measures can massively help out in this kind of situation, especially as drunk drivers, as stated above, can be so unpredictable.
Not Just Drivers
Don’t forget that drivers aren’t the only ones who need to be careful when drunk driving is concerned. If you’re a passenger in a vehicle nearby someone you suspect to be a drunk driver, it’s important to help out your driver by keeping your eyes on the road, offering advice, and not causing any needless distractions. You may also be asked to call 911 and report the driver.
Similarly, even pedestrians need to be on the lookout for drunk drivers and ready to deal with them too. If you’re walking around on the streets at the weekends or late at night, your odds of encountering a drunk driver are higher, so be sure to check both ways before crossing the street and wait a moment at traffic lights before stepping out onto the road.
Statistics show that seat belts save thousands of lives every year, and their importance simply cannot be underestimated. If you aren’t wearing a seat belt and find yourself in an accident, you’ll be much more likely to suffer severe or even fatal injuries, as nothing will be stopping your body from lunging forwards, into the chair in front of you if you’re a passenger or straight through the windscreen if you’re in the front of the car.
We might not be able to control the actions of others, nor can we simply erase the problem of drunk drivers altogether, but we can take steps to secure ourselves and our passengers. Make sure you always wear a belt, no matter where or when you’re driving, and instruct anyone else in your vehicle to do the same.
Drunk drivers can pose a serious threat to your safety, as well as anyone else they encounter along the way. You can help to minimize the number of drunk drivers by never becoming one of them, and encouraging friends and family members to avoid drinking and driving too, and it’s also recommended to call the police and report any drunk drivers you see, as long as it’s safe to do so.
It’s also wise to follow the tips above, paying special attention when driving late at night, and always being aware of your surroundings. By identifying drunk drivers around you and then reacting to them accordingly, you’ll be putting yourself in a much safer position, so be alert, be aware, and stay safe.