One of the biggest challenges you will face while driving is the behavior of other drivers. It’s an unfortunate fact that sometimes other drivers are operating their vehicles under the influence of alcohol or other substances. Sometimes this is obvious while other times it isn’t.
Too often people think that they have not had enough to drink to affect their driving ability. When a person chooses to drive under the influence of mind-altering substances, they put their own lives at risk as well as the lives of their passengers and innocent people they may encounter along the road.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol-impaired drivers cause the deaths of approximately 29 people in motor vehicle accidents every single day in the United States.
More DUI statistics include the following:
- About one in three of all traffic deaths involve a driver who has been drinking.
- About one-third of all Americans will be involved in a crash related to alcohol use at some point in their lives.
- In Texas, in the last 30 days, 2.1% of adults reported driving after drinking too much.
- Between 2003 and 2012, over 13,000 people were killed in Texas in crashes involving a drunk driver.
All drivers should make the decision that they are not going to drive if they are under the influence of alcohol or other substances. How can you protect yourself from other people who have made the dangerous choice to drink and drive?
Recognizing a Driver Who is Impaired
It’s not always easy to tell when a driver is under the influence, but there are some signs that suggest that this is a possibility. These signs include:
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Swerving dramatically
- Almost hitting another vehicle or a pedestrian
- Straddling more than one lane
- Driving with headlights off at night
- Braking suddenly
- Turning illegally or unexpectedly
- Driving slowly and without confidence
- Drifting into the next lane or toward the breakdown lane
- Not reacting to traffic signals
Tips to Avoid Drunk Drivers
Only individual motorists can make the decision not to drive drunk and put the lives of others at risk. However, you can take steps to identify and avoid intoxicated drivers. By being cautious and alert when you are behind the wheel, you can identify potential threats and avoid them without risking a serious collision.
Consider the following tips any time you get behind the wheel.
- Avoid driving at night. Most drunk driving occurs after the sun goes down, so driving at night increases the chance of an accident with an impaired motorist. Of course, for many people driving after dark is unavoidable. However, limiting the time on the road at night could reduce the odds of a crash.
- Keep a safe distance. Maintaining a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of you is always a good idea. That is especially true when you share the road with an impaired driver. Drunk drivers are more likely to drive erratically or come to sudden stops. Keeping a safe distance behind them could help you avoid a crash.
- Be cautious at intersections. Intersections are a common location for vehicle collisions. This is especially true when it comes to accidents with drunk drivers. Drivers impaired by drugs and alcohol often fail to notice stop lights or signs. Others lack the response time needed to avoid a crash.
- Use your seatbelt. Accidents cannot always be avoided. Therefore, it is essential that you take steps to protect yourself. Wearing your seatbelt is the most effective way to protect yourself from the dangers of drunk drivers. Even if you can’t always avoid driving near impaired drivers, you can increase your chances of surviving a crash using a seatbelt. Always buckle up when you get behind the wheel and encourage your passengers to do the same.
When a person is under the influence, they may have lost the ability to make logical decisions and they may behave in erratic, unpredictable ways. To avoid being hit by a drunk driver, be prepared to take quick and evasive action. Make sure you are wearing your seatbelt.
If you see a driver that appears to be impaired driving up behind you, pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and let them pass you. If the impaired driver is in the lane next to you or in front of you, allow plenty of distance between you. If they are suddenly heading directly at you traveling in the wrong direction, move out of the way as soon as you can. Honk your horn and flash your lights.
Whenever you see a driver that you believe could be under the influence, let law enforcement know by calling 911. Be prepared to describe the make, model, and color of the vehicle as well as the license plate if you are able to get it. Don’t try to stop the driver yourself or try to follow them if they are speeding.
An Accident with a Drunk Driver
Unfortunately, there are many times that innocent people never see drunk drivers coming, or don’t realize the driver is under the influence until it is too late. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, it’s important to speak to a personal injury lawyer.
Don’t hesitate to contact Patterson Law Group using the form on this page. A member of our legal team will get back to you very soon. We want to help.
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