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Protecting Yourself from Drunk Drivers During the Holidays

Posted December 19, 2018 | Utah Blog

Protecting yourself from drunk drivers during the holidays

The holidays are some of the most dangerous times to be on the road. Drunk driving rates increase around each holiday season, with an average of 300 people dying in drunk driving crashes the week between Christmas and New Year’s alone. You cannot always predict a drunk driving accident, but you may be able to prevent one with a few safety tips for protection. Keep the following in mind if you will be on the road in Salt Lake City this holiday season.

Learn the Signs of Drunk Driving

One of the best ways to protect yourself from a drunk driver is to learn how to spot one. Identifying drunk drivers can help you keep your distance from them and allow you to call the authorities to report the driver. Always be on the lookout for suspicious driving behaviors and drive defensively around people who appear not to be in control of their vehicles. Certain signs may indicate that you are near a drunk driver.

  • The driver may be abruptly braking or speeding up.
  • The driver may be drifting in and out of lanes.
  • The driver may be ignoring roadway rules.
  • The driver may be going much slower than speed limit.
  • The driver may be running red lights.
  • The driver may be driving the wrong way.
  • The driver may be driving without headlights.
  • The driver may be tailgating.

Alcohol impairs a driver’s judgment, memory, attention, and reaction times. If you see someone who is not driving in a safe or reasonable way, consider whether he or she could be driving under the influence of alcohol. If so, call 911 or your local authorities to report the driver. Knowing the signs of impaired driving may help prevent a collision.

Avoid Driving at High-Risk Times and Dates

Reduce your risk of encountering a drunk driver around the holidays by staying off the road as much as possible at high-risk times. Statistics show alcohol impairment in fatal accidents is four times more common at night than during the day. The weekends – particularly the early-morning hours of Saturday and Sunday – also show higher numbers of drunk driving accidents. If possible, avoid driving late at night and on the weekends during the holidays. Also avoid traveling during high-traffic dates, such as Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Maintain a Safe Following Distance

If you have reason to believe someone is driving drunk, immediately increase your following distance. Leaving extra following distance can give you time to stop if the drunk driver brakes abruptly. Give the driver a wide berth to maneuver to the left or right as well, in the likely event the driver cannot stay in his or her lane. Staying as far away as possible from a potentially impaired driver while you contact the authorities can help prevent a collision.

Be Extra Careful at Intersections

Drunk drivers often speed, break roadway rules, and ignore the right of way at intersections. This combination can lead to deadly T-bone collisions and other serious intersection accidents. Take extra caution around intersections during the holidays in case a drunk driver rolls through the stop sign or runs the red light. Stop and check both ways for oncoming vehicles before proceeding into the intersection, even if you have the right of way or a green traffic light.

Wear Your Seatbelt

Even the most cautious driver cannot always prevent a collision with a drunk driver. Buckling your seatbelt is an important defense against drunk drivers. Wearing your seatbelt can reduce the odds of a collision being fatal. In 2016, seatbelts saved an estimated 14,668 lives in the U.S. Yet over 27 million Americans do not buckle up when they drive. Always wear your seatbelt to help protect you in a drunk driving accident. You and your family can prevent fatal injuries and arrive at your celebration alive with the proper safety restraint devices.

If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, give our Salt Lake City car accident lawyers a call. We are available 24/7 and offer free consultations.