St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration for many Americans – whether they have Irish blood or not. However, this day is also known for being a dangerous holiday in terms of auto accidents due to drunk driving.
In this post, we’ll tell you how to watch out for St. Patrick’s Day partygoers who have had too much to drink, and what to do if you get in an accident.
St. Patrick’s Day Drunk Driving Statistics
If past holidays are any indication, over 33 million Americans will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year with Irish food and alcohol. Unfortunately, a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that form 2006 to 2010, more than 700 people were killed in drunk driving accidents on St. Patrick’s Day, with blood alcohol levels are almost twice the legal limit 80 percent of the time.
Since the roads can be so dangerous on St. Patrick’s Day, we’ve prepared some safety tips for you.
How to Watch for St. Patrick’s Day Drunk Drivers
The safest bet is to avoid driving on St. Patrick’s Day altogether. If that’s not possible, remember to drive defensively and stay off the road during late night hours. Also, avoid country roads and two-lane highways, where accidents are more likely to occur due to lower visibility.
Keep watch for the following signs of a drunk driver:
- Running through stop signs or stop lights
- Stopping at wrong times, such as during green lights
- Signaling at the wrong times or not at all
- Failing to turn on headlights in the dark
- Driving at speeds significantly under or over the speed limit
- Erratic braking
- Tailgating or passing too closely
- Weaving between lanes
- Driving in the center of the road
If you suspect a drunk driver is near, make sure your safety belts are fastened. Pull over as soon as possible and call the police to make a report. Try to get the license plate number and a vehicle description. Do not try to pass or stop the drunk driver.
If You Get in a St. Patrick’s Day Accident with a Drunk Driver
First, you must contact the police for any accident with damages totaling $500 or more. You also need to file a crash report within 10 days for accidents with less damage.
If possible, pull to the side of the road, the offer reasonable assistance to the other people in the accident. Exchange personal information, including driver’s license and insurance policy numbers. Take photographs of the scene and document the weather conditions. Do not admit any fault – even if you think you caused the accident.
Under Florida’s no-fault accident system, each driver’s insurance company will cove their accident expenses up to $10,000. However, anything over this amount can be a bit more complicated. Even if you seem fine after the accident, it’s in your best interest to visit a doctor as soon as possible – both for your health and to increase the chances that you can receive compensation for any serious issues.
You may also want to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to make sure that you understand your options and that your rights are protected. Our firm has extensive experience in successfully winning cases against drunk drivers. Contact us for a free consultation.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.