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When we are behind the wheel, simply being a responsible driver isn’t always enough to ensure the safety of ourselves and our loved ones. We can’t always protect ourselves from someone else’s negligence. But what would you say if we told you there are steps you can take to lower the risk of being injured by a negligent driver, such as a drunk driver.

Although it is illegal to drive with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) at or above 0.08 percent, individuals continue to risk lives by doing just that. We should be on the defensive at all times to protect ourselves against the uncontrolled driving of those drivers who are under the influence of alcohol.

According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year.

How big is the problem?

If you are still not convinced about the importance of driving on the defense, you will be after reading the following statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • In 2015, fatalities that involved alcohol-impaired driving crashes accounted for nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
  • Sixteen percent of traffic deaths among children ages 0-14 years in 2015 involved an alcohol-impaired
  • In 2016, 28 percent of motor vehicle traffic fatalities were caused by alcohol-impaired driving in the United States.
  • The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $44 billion.
  • Fifteen percent of fatal pedestrian crashes involved a driver with a BAC of at least 0.08.
  • Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash.
  • Twenty-eight people die every day in the United States in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

Now that we have caught your attention, we have compiled a list of safety tips to help defend yourself from the dangers of drunk drivers.

Wear your seatbelt and wear it properly: Fastening your seatbelt is the number one defense against a drunk driver. If tragedy strikes and you are hit by a drunk driver, wearing your seatbelt prevents you from being ejected from the vehicle. Drivers and front seat passengers that properly wear a seat belt reduce the risk of death by 45 percent and serious injury risk is reduced by 50 percent according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Insist that all of your passengers are always buckled up as well.

Maintain safe following distances: When traveling behind another vehicle, stay back enough to notice erratic behavior. Signs that the person operating a vehicle is impaired include swerving repeatedly and slowing down and speeding up constantly. If you notice any of these signs, stay as far away as possible and call your local law enforcement to report it. Your call could potentially save someone’s life.

Be extra cautious at intersections: Take your time when driving through an intersection and make sure you look both ways for oncoming traffic. Collisions involving drunk drivers often occur at intersections because they don’t stop at the stop signs and don’t obey traffic signals.

Avoid driving late at night: This tip is especially important on weekends when people go out to clubs and parties. All too often individuals fail to designate a sober driver and the person getting behind the wheel to drive everybody home after the party is intoxicated.

Holidays are hazardous: The holidays are a time to unwind and make memories with friends and loved ones, many times involving alcohol.  The possibility of encountering a drunk driver rises on and around holidays.

Don’t share police checkpoint locations: This tip is more important than it sounds. The purpose of a checkpoint is to identify drivers who are under the influence and remove them from the roads preventing them from potentially hurting themselves and other innocent drivers sharing the road. If the location is given away by either sharing it on social media or telling everyone you know about it, the checkpoint then becomes useless. Drunk drivers will go a different route and continue to pose great dangers on the roads.

Be a designated driver: If you are going to an event where there will be alcohol, volunteer to drive others home. Being the responsible individual who chooses to stay sober will keep you out of a car with an impaired driver and prevent others who have been consuming alcohol from risking their lives by getting behind the wheel. You will remain safe, and you can feel great about the lives you are potentially saving as well.

What to look for in a buzzed or drunk driver?

Impaired drivers are a danger to you, everyone else on the road and themselves. According to the CDC, approximately 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve a drunk driver. There are several signs that can let you know that you’re sharing the road with an impaired driver, especially around major holidays or sporting events.

  • Failure to turn on headlights
  • Sudden or illegal turns
  • Unusually wide turns
  • Straddling the center lane or lane markers
  • Drifting, swerving or weaving from one side of the road to the other
  • Driving at a very slow speed
  • Following another car too closely
  • Close calls
  • Erratic braking
  • Inconsistent signaling
  • Stopping at inappropriate places such as green lights

This list is not an all-encompassing list. However, you should never fear using your best judgment if you see odd behavior on the road.

What do I do if I spot a drunk driver?

While you may have passed on the booze, that doesn’t mean that other drivers on the road did. One of the biggest questions we ask ourselves is: what do I do if I spot a drunk driver?

If you suspect a drunk driver on the road, make a note of the car’s make, model, color and license plate. Pull over and distance yourself from the drunk driver. Call 911 and calmly report the drunk driver. Give the operator the information you collected and the exact location of the car. The dispatcher may ask you to report the driving behavior, so be ready to describe what you saw.

Do not attempt to make contact with or stop the drunk driver. Doing so could lead to an accident. Wait on trained first responders to make the stop. They will know how to appropriately handle the situation.

How The Carlson Law Firm can help

If you or a loved one has been a victim of a drunk driver, don’t wait any longer to give us a call. Here at The Carlson Law Firm, we have the tools and resources to help you through this situation while pursuing a maximum settlement from a drunk driving collision. You may be entitled to seek compensation for medical bills, pain, suffering, lost wages and more. We are available 24/7 because we care, we can help.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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