The school year has started, meaning that teens and young adults on high school and college campuses are likely to have more social events, which oftentimes involve underage drinking. This, in turn, can mean more drunk drivers on the road, putting not only the drunk driver but also countless other innocent people at risk.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid drunk drivers on the road and stay safe, decreasing the likelihood that you or your family will be injured in the uptick of DUI accidents that happens around the start of the school year.
Why Underage Drinking Leads to More DUI Accidents
Underage drinkers in high school or college are more likely to drive drunk, as teens and young adults are impulsive and more likely to exercise poor judgement. Underage drinkers also have a tendency to binge drink, as reflected by the fact that that the blood alcohol content of underage drunk drivers is higher.
These factors combine to make the perfect storm – a cohort of drinkers who are more likely to drive, and more likely to cause an accident when they do.
The Dangers of Drunk Driving
All too often, drunk driving leads to accidents that injure or kill sober drivers or passengers. In fact, drunk drivers are actually more likely to survive injuries than sober parties involved in the accident.
The basis for this is still under investigation, but studies have suggested that alcohol suppresses certain stress chemicals released when a major injury is sustained, increasing the chance of survival.
If you or your loved one have been injured by a drunk driver, or if you have lost a loved one to a DUI accident, the drunk driver should be held accountable for his or her actions, and you should receive compensation for your injuries or loss.
A personal injury attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve. This may not right a wrong, but can help gain closure and ensure that your family’s financial future is not compromised.
How to Avoid Drunk Drivers
There are a number of different things you can do to avoid drunk drivers and lessen your chance of becoming the victim of a DUI accident. These include staying off the road when drivers are more likely to be intoxicated, avoiding back roads, and being aware of the signs of an intoxicated driver, such that you can avoid them.
Stay off the road late at night or on known drinking holidays. Most DUI accidents occur late at night, and drinking holidays also increase the number of drunk drivers on the road. If possible, limit your time on the road during these peak hours and holidays so as to avoid the uptick in drunk drivers.
Recognize and avoid intoxicated drivers. There are a few telltale signs of drunk or otherwise intoxicated drivers. Be on the lookout for these signs, especially late at night or on holidays. If you see any of the following common signs of drunk driving, be sure to avoid the car, and consider reporting the driver to authorities:
- Driving in the center of the road or weaving in and out of a lane
- Turning too wide
- Driver with face close to the windshield
- Near collisions with objects, pedestrians, or other vehicles
- Swerves or abrupt turns
- Driving substantially slower than other drivers
- Delayed reaction time to traffic signals
- Inappropriate stops or braking
Safety Precautions beyond Watching for Drunk Drivers
You can also minimize your chance of being involved in an accident with a drunk driver or otherwise by taking a few precautions yourself.
Wear a seatbelt. This may seem like a no-brainer, but failure to wear a seatbelt greatly increases your risk of injury or fatality from a collision. Make sure to wear your seatbelt at all times, even for short trips.
Keep your car maintained. Ensuring that you have maximum control over your vehicle at all times can help you to evade accidents, including those caused by drunk drivers. Your car’s tires are one of the most important things in this regard, as well-maintained tires allow you to turn, stop, and accelerate more rapidly.
Keep your tires well-inflated, and replace them when they become worn. Also make sure that your brakes and power steering are in good working order.
Help Prevent Drunk Driving
If you are hosting a party, part of your responsibility as a host is to help ensure that everyone gets home safely. You can discourage drunk driving and DWIs by limiting the amount of alcohol served, stopping serving alcohol before the party ends, serving an ample amount of food, and keeping an eye on your guests as they leave to make sure that they are not intoxicated. You also have a responsibility not to serve alcohol to anyone under 21 – without exception.
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.