The holidays are a joyous time to spend with loved ones making memories. Most people look forward to this time of year due to the happiness and fun it brings. The holiday season often requires road travel, which puts your family’s safety at risk. While the weather definitely is one safety factor, another is the presence of drunk drivers.
Although the summer months have the highest rates of drunk driving fatalities, the final months of the year do not fall far behind, reveal data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You may not be able to control who is on the road, but you can take preventive measures to reduce the risk of an accident with a drunk driver.
First, make sure you do your part to stay safe. Already have music, GPS and other settings ready before you begin driving, so you can keep your attention on your surroundings. Stop text alerts so you are not tempted to look at them while driving.
Avoid driving at night, if you can. In 2017, 70% of alcohol-related deadly collisions occurred during dark hours, shares the NHTSA. Weekends also saw higher rates.
Know the signs
Once you are on the road, watch out for signs of drunk drivers. Common red flags include:
- Driving the wrong way
- Going well under the speed limit
- Swerving or drifting into lanes
- Straddling lane lines
- Not using lights and/or turn signals
- Making illegal turns
- Changing speed for no apparent reason
- Following other vehicles too closely
If you notice these signs, stay as far away from the vehicle as possible or change your route. You may need to pull over and report the driver to the police.
Exercise your legal rights
Unfortunately, your best efforts cannot guarantee your safety. If a drunk driver crashes into you, you may hold the person, and possibly other parties, legally and financially responsible. You may also pursue punitive damages.