If you are going to a party or any place where drinking is involved, stay sober and volunteer to drive your family and friends home.
Many accidents caused by a drunk driver involve another driver – one who is sober and responsible. So, even if you drive with caution at all times, there are still drivers who are negligent and irresponsible, drivers who cannot control their driving because they are intoxicated. Every time you are out on the road, you put yourself at risk because of drivers who think it’s cool to drink and drive.
As such, you must be conscious of what’s happening around you when you are driving, especially if drunk driving is prevalent in their area. And it’s an even more common occurrence in the summertime, when people go out to celebrate and have fun, and when families travel and go on vacations. Summer is also about the Fourth of July, one of the biggest holidays in the country.
Summer is when many people drive impaired by alcohol. Drivers young and old become 1st time regular DUI offenders, and they drag responsible, innocent drivers into these car crashes.
Preventing fatal car crashes requires a lot of discipline on the part of the driver. Learning how to say no when someone asks you to drink when you know you are driving is not easy, but it’s the right thing to do. But, it is also important to learn how to defend yourself from drunk drivers.
What to Do
1. Buckle up!
Many people find seat belts uncomfortable, but they really protect you. Wearing seat belts will help prevent or reduce the chances of a deadly collision. In 2019, 47% of the over 22,000 passenger deaths in car crashes did not wear their seat belts.
If you don’t buckle up, there will be nothing restraining you, so the impact of a car crash can eject you from your seat. The consequences can be more than you can ever imagine.
2. Keep your distance from other cars.
You do not know what the driver in front of you will do, so always keep your distance. So, if he suddenly stops, you’ll have enough space to stop and prevent an accident. He can also swerve or repeatedly switch from slowing down to speeding up.
Erratic driving is dangerous, but if you put a safe distance between your car and the driver ahead of you, you can avoid getting involved in an accident.
Once you notice the driver in front of you behaving strangely, turn off your car’s cruise control, move away from the vehicle ahead of you, and get in touch with local traffic enforcement.
3. Be more careful at intersections.
Intersections are dangerous any time of the day, but things can turn deadly when you encounter a drunk driver. So, when you’re about to reach a four-way stop, drive slowly and take time to check your surroundings. Look to your left and then to your right (or vice versa). Check oncoming traffic and always yield to it.
In addition, always check if other cars are stopping as well. Do not assume that everyone will stop; drunk drivers have impaired reflexes and blurred vision, so they cannot act swiftly when the situation calls for it. They ignore traffic signals and do not follow stop signs.
4. Learn how to drive defensively.
If you think a driver is intoxicated, keep a safe distance from his vehicle. If possible, let that driver pass you. If he is driving toward you, slowly move away and pull to the right. Stop your car, flash your lights, and honk.
5. Do not drive at night or during peak hours.
Driving during peak hours means driving through heavy traffic. It will be difficult for you to stay away from drunk drivers. So, wait for a little while until the rush hour traffic dies down a bit, and then drive out. However, avoid driving late at night when the roads are dark. Most drunk driving cases that involve fatal crashes happen at night when intoxicated drivers are on their way home.
6. Avoid driving in dangerous areas.
If you can, avoid driving in and through areas known to be accident-prone, such as a four-way stop. Roads and intersections that do not have enough lights are also areas where drunk drivers commonly make mistakes.
7. Drive more carefully during holidays.
Holidays like New Year’s Eve, the Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving bring families and friends together. And these celebrations are always overflowing with food and drinks. The summer holidays are also abuzz with barbecue parties and similar other fun activities that involve alcohol. So, as expected, the number of intoxicated drivers out on the road almost always increases during the holidays.
If you can, avoid driving on these days. But if you have to drive, pay extra attention to the other drivers and stay alert. Be open to the possibility of getting entangled in a drunk driving incident. Always be prepared.
8. Stay away from other driver’s blind spots.
Looking over your shoulder and your mirrors before you change lanes is important, but not all drivers do this all the time – especially those who are intoxicated. Blind spots are dangerous, so if a driver fails to turn on the right signals or check the spot, do your best to avoid this.
Also, remember to put a wider gap between your vehicle and tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks as their blind spots are larger than regular vehicles.
9. Refrain from interacting with aggressive drivers.
It’s natural for you to react when you encounter an irresponsible driver, but it is not good to get your anger to get the best of you. Always keep your emotions in check because shouting or cursing at the erring driver will not solve your problem or keep you out of danger. Also, remember that you are dealing with a possibly intoxicated driver who is not in his right mind. Don’t act impulsively; deal with the situation calmly and responsibly.
10. Cooperate when stopped at checkpoints.
Checkpoints are essential because they can help keep you safe and prevent untoward incidents. They are also effective in catching drunk drivers. Do your best to cooperate and show respect to the officers who are manning the checkpoints. If you follow traffic rules and policies, you have nothing to worry about.
It is also vital that you refrain from sharing information about checkpoint locations online and with your family and friends. Spreading details about these locations will warn drunk drivers, and they’ll avoid going through those areas, so the efforts of your local authorities are put to waste.
11. Volunteer as designated driver.
If you are going to a party or any place where drinking is involved, stay sober and volunteer to drive your family and friends home. There always has to be someone responsible enough to realize that drinking and driving do not go well together. Be that responsible person and save lives.
12. Learn how to identify a drunk driver.
There are signs that will help you identify a drunk driver: illegal or sudden turns, not turning on headlights, unnecessary wide turns, erratic braking, drifting and swerving or weaving from one side to another, straddling the lane or center lane markers, close calls, very slow speed, tailgating, and inconsistent signaling.
If you or someone you know is involved in a drunk driving incident; if you want to learn more about how you can protect yourself from impaired drivers, talk to an experienced DUI defense attorney.