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Holiday Season Safety Tips: How to Spot Drunk Drivers

The McClellan Law Firm

With the 2014 holiday season just around the corner, now is a great time to prepare yourself for safe travels. According to researchers, only 31% of all alcohol-related highway deaths occur outside of the holiday season. In fact, 40% of highway deaths caused by DUI happen near Thanksgiving. 37% occur near Christmas, and 50% of all highway DUI-related deaths happen around the New Year's holiday.

Holiday Season DUI Facts

  • Two to three times as many people are killed in DUI accidents during the holidays
  • 40% of all traffic fatalities involve an alcohol-impaired driver
  • 25,000 people were injured in DUI accidents between Thanksgiving and New Years' last year
  • In some areas, the day before Thanksgiving is the most dangerous day for DUI accidents
  • DUI accidents, injuries, and fatalities are always preventable

During the Holidays, Watch Out for Drunk Drivers

DUI is always preventable, but drunk driving remains a prevalent safety threat in the United States. While organizations like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) continue to promote sober driving, it is important for motorists to stay alert for dangerous, impaired drivers – especially during the holiday season.

Watch out for "Blackout Wednesday"

In recent years, the day before Thanksgiving has become a popular day for heavy drinking among college students, earning it the designation, "Blackout Wednesday." In some places, Blackout Wednesday is responsible for more DUIs, DUI accidents, and DUI fatalities. This is considerable, since New Year's Eve drinking is responsible for more than half of DUI-related highway deaths, on average, in the United States.

The best way to avoid getting hurt by a drunk driver is to avoid traveling near major holidays, especially in the evenings. Some dangerous holidays for driving are:

  • New Year's Eve
  • Memorial Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • The Fourth of July
  • Labor Day
  • Christmas

Since traveling is not always avoidable, drivers should learn to identify the common signs of a drunk driver. This will not only increase the driver's own safety, but help him / her prevent additional DUI accidents.

Tips for seeing (and avoiding) drunk drivers:

Drunk drivers aren't always easy to spot, but with some careful observation, you can fight drunk driving and increase safety on roadways. Here are some common habits that could indicate DUI:

  • Weaving through lanes, zig-zagging across the road
  • Suddenly speeding up and slowing down (delayed reaction)
  • Driving outside of the road's designated lines
  • Driving slowly (less than 10 mph below the speed limit)
  • Driving with headlights off when it is dark
  • Turning illegally or suddenly (delayed reaction)
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road, against traffic
  • Driving in the middle of the road, over the center line

What to do if you see a drunk driver:

If you see a driver who appears to be under the influence of alcohol, stay as far away from the impaired driver as possible. Do not attempt to get the driver's attention; this could cause an accident. Avoid passing the vehicle. To report the driver, pull over to the side of the road and call 911. Be ready to provide the driver's exact location (including cross streets), which direction the vehicle is traveling, and why you suspect that the diver is DUI.

What to do if you're in a DUI accident:

If you suffered an injury or the loss of a loved one in a DUI-related accident, speak with a personal injury lawyer from The McClellan Law Firm today. We represent victims of avoidable accidents, including victims of DUI. Let our San Diego attorneys put their experience to work for your case. For additional information about us, call our office.