While the work of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has brought forth increased legislation, helped to reduce drunk driving fatalities, and improved awareness across the nation, the danger of drunk driving still exists. Drunk drivers are still on the road, risking their lives and those of others who share the roadways with them.
Those whose lives have been changed forever by the loss of a loved one or a devastating injury due to a drunk driver know that in their case, it was one too many impaired drivers on the road that day. You may think you are helpless when it comes to combating and protecting your family from the devastation that drunk drivers can cause. However, there are things you can to do protect your family and do your part to help keep drunk drivers off the road.
First Line of Defense
Before heading out on the road, make sure you always wear your seatbelt and require all your passengers to wear them. In the event you are in an accident, the odds of becoming a fatality statistic are decreased if you are properly secured by a seatbelt.
Be Aware of the Drivers Around You
When driving, always maintain a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you. This will give you adequate time to stop or avoid a driver that may be driving erratically in front of you. If you notice an erratic driver who is swerving or driving strangely, stay as far away as possible from them. Don’t try to stop and confront the driver yourself. Contact the police and advise them of the situation, along with a description of the car and the car’s license plate number if possible.
Other common signs of a drunk driver can include:
- Constant braking
- Sudden, illegal, or wider than normal turns
- Failure to use turn signals or lights
- Inconsistent accelerating and decelerating
- Driving from lane or straddling the center line
Many drunk driving accidents happen at intersections because the impaired driver has ignored the traffic signal or stop sign. When the light turns green or when entering an intersection from a stop sign, take your time and look both ways for oncoming traffic, yielding when necessary.
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Likely Times When Drunk Drivers are On the Road
It is possible to reduce your likelihood of being involved in an accident with a drunk driver by limiting your driving during certain times. Try to avoid driving late at night or in the early morning hours, especially on the weekends when the highest concentration of drunk drivers are out on the road. Driving during the holidays also increases the possibility of encountering a drunk driver, especially New Year’s Eve and during long summer holiday weekends.
Support Law Enforcement Efforts
If you’re throwing a party, be a good host and limit the amount of alcohol served. Don’t allow your guests to drive drunk. Be a designated driver or take the keys of an impaired driver and call them a cab. Support the efforts of law enforcement in catching those who take the chance of driving while under the influence of alcohol. Cooperate with the police if you required to go through a drunk-driving checkpoint while traveling. Don’t warn other drivers of where these checkpoints are. If you accidentally signal a drunk driver, they may try to avoid the checkpoint and will still be a danger on the road.