Motorists Reminded to Drive Sober This Holiday Season
Amid the festive gatherings and celebrations that define the holiday season throughout December, there is a sobering reality that demands attention: this month marks National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. While holiday parties bring joy and fun, they also bring a significant increase in car accidents caused by impaired driving. Prioritizing sober driving during these festivities is crucial to protecting the safety and well-being of Ohio road users.
Drunk driving spikes during the holiday season
Every December, families gather, friends reunite, and communities come together to celebrate. However, this joyous atmosphere can quickly turn tragic when impaired drivers take to the streets. The roads become dangerous, resulting in drunk driving crashes that result in severe injuries and fatalities that shatter families.
According to the National Safety Council, each year, approximately 10,000 lives are lost in the U.S. due to drivers whose alcohol levels are at or above 0.08, contributing to about one-third of all traffic fatalities.
Being impaired by alcohol can have a profound impact on your coordination, vision, and focus, rendering safe driving impossible. When you drink and drive, you are putting more than just yourself at risk. You also risk the safety of your passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.
Drug-impaired driving is a factor in holiday crashes
Impaired driving isn't limited to alcohol; it extends to various drugs, both illegal substances and certain medications. Opioids, marijuana, and even some over-the-counter medications can severely impair a driver's ability to operate a vehicle safely. Certain drugs can make you feel drowsy. When a drug-impaired driver is on the road, drowsy-driving accidents are more likely to happen. Be mindful of the following signs of drowsy driving provided by The National Road Safety Foundation:
- Trouble focusing, excessive blinking, and eye rubbing: Drug impairment can affect a driver's ability to maintain proper visual focus on the road. They may struggle to keep their eyes open or may blink excessively, often rubbing their eyes due to the strain of staying alert.
- Daydreaming or gaps in memory about recent miles driven: Impaired drivers may become mentally disengaged from the task of driving, leading to daydreaming or experiencing memory lapses regarding the road they've covered. These lapses in attention increase the risk of missing changes in traffic or hazards on the road.
- Head jerks, nodding, and yawning: Certain drugs can induce drowsiness and fatigue, causing drivers to exhibit physical signs of drowsiness like head jerks, nodding, and frequent yawning. These symptoms can impair a driver's reaction time and attentiveness.
- Drifting between lanes, tailgating, or hitting rumble strips: Impaired drivers often struggle to maintain their lane position, resulting in frequent lane drifting or weaving. They may tailgate the vehicle in front of them due to reduced judgment of safe following distances. Hitting rumble strips on the road's edge or centerline is a common indication of erratic driving behavior associated with impairment.
Stay safe this holiday season by planning ahead
Ensure your safety during the holiday season by following these valuable tips from the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign:
- Always drive completely sober: It's essential to maintain absolute sobriety when getting behind the wheel. Even consuming one alcoholic drink can impair your judgment and reaction time, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Plan ahead: Prioritize your safety by designating a sober driver before you begin drinking. This proactive approach helps ensure you receive a secure ride home and minimizes the chances of impaired driving.
- Explore safe options: Opt for responsible choices such as assigning a designated driver or utilizing taxi/rideshare services like Uber or Lyft. Ensuring a safe journey home should be the top priority when you've been drinking.
- As a designated driver, stay alcohol-free: If you're the designated driver, commit to remaining alcohol-free throughout the evening. Your role as a sober driver is crucial, so take your responsibility seriously.
- Spot a drunk driver? Call your local police department: If you encounter a vehicle being driven erratically and suspect the driver is impaired, don't hesitate to contact your local police department. Reporting such incidents can help prevent potential accidents that result in severe injuries or death.
- Prevent a friend from driving drunk: Be a responsible friend by intervening when someone you know has been drinking and intends to drive. Take away their keys and arrange a sober ride to ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road.
These practical steps can significantly reduce the risk of accidents caused by impaired driving, helping everyone enjoy a safer and happier holiday season.
Our car accident lawyers hold impaired drivers accountable
During the holiday season, everyone must prioritize safe driving habits. Unfortunately, serious and fatal car accidents happen every year due to the reckless choices made by impaired drivers around the holidays. This part of the year should be a time for joy, but some families face devastation instead. Crash victims may have recourse through the civil justice system, and an experienced car accident attorney can help demand justice and accountability.
If you or a loved one was hit by a drunk driver and injured, seek help from Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC. Our Ohio car accident attorneys have experience dealing with complex cases involving drunk drivers and can fight for the financial compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation, or schedule an appointment at our Columbus, Ohio office. We can listen to what happened, answer your questions, and help you understand your potential legal options.