We all know it's more dangerous to drive in rush hour traffic and inclement weather but the holidays, in particular, can be quite deadly.
During the Christmas and New Year season, alcohol-related crashes skyrocket, killing hundreds and seriously injuring many more.
Holiday gatherings such as Memorial Day and Fourth of July mean increased traffic as family and friends come together to celebrate and catch up. But that also means some drivers use holiday parties as an excuse to get drunk and drive while impaired.
Many people who don't regularly drink and have a low tolerance for alcohol consume more than they should. Those with drinking problems will drink more since other people around them are also drinking.
Social binge drinking is one of the reasons traffic-related deaths are so high between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day: 40 percent of fatalities involve a drunk driver.
Special events like the Super Bowl, Cinco de Mayo, and Octoberfest can also increase the likelihood of a deadly accident on the road.
The highest number of drunk drivers are on the road between midnight and 3 a.m. and fatal crashes occur four times higher at night, so it's best to avoid driving during those times.
For pedestrians, fatalities are highest on New Year's Eve and are most likely to occur on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Alcohol is involved — for drivers and pedestrians — in almost half of all traffic crashes that resulted in a pedestrian dying.
Protect Yourself Against Drunk Driver Accidents
Every day, around 30 people die in motor vehicle crashes involving a drunk driver. That's one person every 50 minutes.
- Before drinking, have a designated driver for yourself or your group.
- Don't let your friends or family members drive while impaired. Alcohol stays in the system longer than most people think and only time can sober a person up.
- If you've consumed alcohol or drugs and don't have a designated driver, call an Uber, Lyft or taxi.
- If you host a party where alcohol is served, remind your guests to plan on how they are getting home. Offer to let them stay at your residence or make sure they leave with a sober driver.
- Offer non-alcoholic options for guests such as mocktails and other traditional holiday beverages.
- If possible, avoid driving late at night, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, and on rural roads.
There are many ways to recognize drunk drivers on the road. Here are some common signs that a driver is impaired:
- Drifting into another lane repeatedly.
- Wobbling or zigzagging across the road.
- Driving in the center or wrong side of the road.
- Drinking inside the vehicle.
- Swerving, abruptly turning, or taking turns too wide.
- Erratic braking.
If you're are driving and there is a drunk driver nearby, keep your distance from the vehicle. Pull over or let them pass.
Prepare to take quick, evasive action. If the car is headed straight towards you, stop, honk your horn, and flash your lights.
When it's safe, notify law enforcement as quickly as possible. Tell them you want to report a suspected drunk driver and give as many details as you can (road name, direction traveling, license plate, vehicle description).
DO NOT try to stop the driver, violate traffic signals, speed to keep the vehicle in view, attempt to detain the driver or assist a law enforcement officer unless requested.
Drunk driving accidents kill and injure thousands of people every year. Unfortunately, many of these devastating collisions happen around the holidays.
If you have questions about a wreck involving a drunk driver, contact our law firm today for a free consultation with our Georgia attorneys.