Summer is in full swing and many of us will be out at the local hot spots, having barbecues with friends, and drinking alcohol. These summer activities lead to an increased number of alcohol-impaired drivers on the road, especially in our tourist-heavy communities.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there is almost twice the number of alcohol-related deaths during the summer than there is in all the other months combined. It further reports that Saturday is the “most dangerous day of the week to drive,” with 31% of all fatal alcohol-related accidents occurring on this day. Approximately 30 people a day die in alcohol-related accidents nationwide. As you may expect, driving at night is more dangerous than during the day, with the hours of midnight to 3 a.m. being the worst.
Even if you haven’t been drinking, be aware that other drivers might have been. Make sure you leave plenty of room between your car and the driver in front of you. If someone is driving too closely behind you or flashes their lights to try to get you to drive faster, get out of their way as soon as safely possible. If you notice someone drifting between lanes or driving erratically, stay far back. In addition, if you can do so safely, call the police and report a suspected impaired driver. You also need to be aware of pedestrians who might be intoxicated. Don’t assume that because they have a “don’t walk” sign at a crosswalk that they will obey it. On the other side, if you are a pedestrian, you should be aware of your surroundings and the flow of traffic. Don’t use headphones or be absorbed in texting/playing on your cell phone. Never assume that a car sees you just because you are there or have the right-of-way.
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If you do plan to drink, make sure you have a designated sober driver or plan for a taxi before you start drinking. Never get in a car with someone who has been drinking or let your friends drive after they’ve “had a few,” even if they say they’re fine. The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08. At 0.02 BAC (approximately one drink), studies show that drivers already exhibit signs of impairment. There is a decline in visual functions, including the ability to track a moving object. The ability to perform two tasks at once also starts to decline. A BAC of 0.05 doubles your risk of being in an accident. Driving after drinking is just not worth the risk of death, so please plan accordingly. Here’s hoping everyone has a fun and safe summer!
If you have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another, the aftermath can be a confusing process. You’re hurt, your life’s routine disrupted, and you don’t know the correct procedures to protect your rights. Feel free to review the information we have on our website to gain a better understanding or call our office at (757) 453-7579.