All over the world, people find out about one more accident caused by a drunk driver, and quietly think to themselves: “This could never happen to me, I never drink when I know I’ll drive” or “I would react better and avoid the accident.” Alas, the statistics behind intoxicated drivers shows that more people find themselves on either end of the collision, be it as the culprit, or the collateral damage. In order to prevent, or at the very least reduce the risk of an accident caused by drinking, you should learn more about the risks and practical tips that could help you make better decisions at the wheel.
Distractions often contribute
Drivers who have had a few drinks have another risk factor on the list: they can be easily distracted by ringing phones, notifications, conversation in the car, and they can fall asleep more easily at the wheel. Although some states have very low fines for first-time offenders who text and drive, such as California’s $20 fine, distractions for intoxicated drivers are a much bigger problem that drastically increases the chances of an accident. To put it simply: there’s no scenario in which any amount of alcohol is harmless for driving since there are many other factors at play to further hinder your focus and abilities.
Give yourself time to clear your head
Especially during the holidays, few families will have designated drivers in the house to give them a ride after the feasts are over. That said, if you do need to drive and you’ve already had something to drink if that amount is reasonable and within limits, you can wait until your body breaks down that alcohol to sober up and only then sit behind the wheel. Coffee won’t do you much good, and water will only keep you properly hydrated, so do take this advice seriously and leave the booze several hours before you drive.
Know your rights
Every country and state has different laws and regulations regarding the allowed alcohol levels, speed limits, and related issues – and knowing them in advance can help you in case of an accident. For instance, contacting experienced criminal lawyers in Parramatta in Australia is a common piece of advice for drivers who end up involved in an accident in this area. Learn your rights and always get professional guidance so as to protect those rights.
Holidays are a special hazard
Despite the ads and the preventative measures implemented by every country, every Christmas in Australia leads to a staggering number of car accidents and related fatalities. Whether you’re exhausted from shopping and cooking and you’ve had a few drinks, or you’re heading over to see your family in the neighboring state, make sure someone else is behind the wheel!
Be more mindful at intersections
You might have the right to keep driving, but if an irresponsible, intoxicated driver is at the next intersection, chances are that they might miss the stop sign or the red light, which will further endanger you and your passengers. Even as the designated driver, you need to be extra careful when you’re about to come across an intersection – this is where the vast majority of car accidents related to alcohol occur.
The weather can be a contributing factor
Driving in the rain, snow, and fog is risky on its own accord, but add alcohol into the mix, and you truly risk the safety of everyone on the road. Even if you believe yourself to be a reliable driver, make sure that you keep your distance and remove alcohol from the equation especially during hazardous weather conditions.
One of the leading causes of teen death
In the US, accidents on the road cause the most casualties among teens, accounting for over 40% of all deaths. All the more reason to talk to your teen kids and make sure that they are aware of all the driving regulations, and that they make smart choices when consuming alcohol.
Find alternatives to driving
We all know that the highest number of incidents on the road occur during the weekends, late at night and in the early mornings. That said, if you’re at an event or a celebration, and you’ve had something to drink, you should consider a few alternatives: public transportation, asking someone else to drive you home, taking a cab, or spending the night at your host’s home.
Risk varies from region to region
Perhaps getting to know your specific area will help you understand the risks better. For instance, about 30% of traffic fatalities in Australia involve alcohol. This means that close to a third of all accidents with a fatal outcome include drunk drivers, and taking precautions is a must.
Your seatbelt is your best bet
Did you know that New Hampshire doesn’t have a specific seatbelt law referring to all drivers and passengers? Unlike that state, other countries have very specific seatbelt laws that you should be aware of when you sit behind the wheel since this single step can reduce your risk of an accident by about 50%, so even if you encounter an intoxicated driver, you can prevent injuries and fatalities by simply buckling up.