St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that can be more fun than a barrel of leprechauns. In the United States, it is often associated with wearing green, hitting the bars, and for some folks, getting very intoxicated.
While many holiday revelers act responsibility and assign a designated driver or arrange for alternative transportation, disturbingly, others do not. Holidays are notorious times for the roads to be teeming with drunk drivers.
Although we can’t tell you where to find the leprechaun’s gold, we can help keep you safe on St. Paddy’s day this year. Do your part by always staying sober if you plan to get behind the wheel, and follow these simple tips for preventing accidents with drunk drivers on the road:
- Avoid driving at all, if possible, on holidays that involve excessive drinking, such as St. Patrick’s Day, the 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day and the weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years Eve.
- Avoid driving late at night. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers involved in fatal car accidents in 2009 were four times more likely to be intoxicated at night versus during the day.
- Be prepared for the unexpected, especially when driving at night or on the aforementioned holidays. For example, do not assume that drivers around you will obey traffic lights or signs, or that they will turn at the appropriate time or direction as their turn signal suggests.
- Avoid country roads and two lane highways at night. A 2010 study found that the disproportionate number of accidents that occur on two-lane rural highways in the southeast United States is attributable to the narrow lane width, road curvature, and poor lighting common to these roads—factors that increase the likelihood of accidents, especially among intoxicated drivers.
Warning Signs of a Drunk Driver
- Straddling lane markers or center lane
- Weaving or zigzagging from one side of lane or road to the other
- Braking erratically
- Driving noticeably slower than the speed limit
- Failing to use headlights at night
- Stopping at inappropriate times, such as at green lights
- Using inconsistent signaling
- Passing other cars too closely
What to Do When You Spot a Drunk Driver
- Safety first: ensure that everyone in the car has his or her safety belt fastened.
- Pull over. Find a safe place to pull over and wait until the intoxicated driver is out of sight.
- Do not follow closely. If you cannot pull over, keep a large distance between your car and theirs – more than enough to break if necessary.
- Report the driver. If possible to do so safely, get the license plate number and/or a description of the car, and dial 911 to report the incident to the police. Be ready to also provide the location, direction of travel and a description of the driver’s behavior.
- Under no circumstances should you try to pass or stop the vehicle!
Drunk Driving Stats
- According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there were 416 alcohol impaired-related fatalities on Georgia’s highways and roads in 2008.
- The CDC reports 10,839 deaths nationwide in 2009 due to collisions involving alcohol impairment; this amounts to nearly 1/3 of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
- In 2010, 112 million incidents of drinking and driving occurred in the United States, according to a recent study released by the CDC.
Injured in a Drunk Driving Collision?
Have you or someone close to you been injured or killed in an accident with a drunk driver? You may be eligible for compensation for your losses. Our attorneys have extensive experience in successfully litigating against careless drunk drivers. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn about your legal rights and options.