During the holiday season, many Americans take time out of their busy schedules to get together with family and friends. Nearly 100 million of us will travel out of town during this season to visit loved ones, and most will travel by car. This makes the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s the busiest travel time of the year.
Amidst all the holiday celebrations, there is also a lot of alcohol that is consumed. This means that, along with the increased traffic due to travelers, there are more drunk drivers on the road. Drunk driving arrests spike on Thanksgiving Eve, and they are much higher than average on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve as well.
DUI accidents are responsible for approximately 10,000 fatalities throughout the year. And not surprisingly, a large percentage of these fatalities occur during the holiday season. Just during the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve alone, there are approximately 300 deaths that are caused by alcohol-related crashes. It is also estimated that drunk drivers play a role in roughly 2 out of every 5 traffic-related deaths during this time of the year.
How to Stay Safe during the Holiday Season
With all the busyness associated with this time of year, it is important for us to take a step back, plan ahead, and do our part to keep the roadways safer for ourselves and everyone else. Here are some steps we can take to help ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday season:
Pick the Safest Times to be Out on the Roads
There are certain times when it is more dangerous to be out driving. We have already discussed the higher number of DUIs on various nights like Thanksgiving Eve, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and this is true of nights in general as well. 30% of fatal accidents that occur at night involve an intoxicated driver, while only 9% of fatal accidents during daytime hours are DUI-related. If possible, do most of your traveling, shopping, etc. during the day.
Recognize the Signs of a Drunk Driver
Most people will need to do some of their driving at night during the holidays, whether going out to dinner, to a holiday party, or another function. When you are out at night, keep in mind that you may be sharing the road with some intoxicated drivers, and be able to recognize some of the signs. These may include:
- Weaving in and out of lanes;
- Hitting the break or accelerating erratically without any reason;
- Running red lights and stop signs;
- Making sharp, dangerous, and/or illegal turns;
- Following other vehicles too closely/tailgating;
- Driving the wrong way.
If you notice any of these or other signs of drunk driving, keep your distance from these vehicles and report them to the police.
If you Plan to Drink, Make a Plan to Get Home Safely
Most people do not plan to drink and drive, but sometimes, they find themselves in a circumstance where the temptation to do so is overwhelming. To prevent this from happening, always have a plan to get home safely if you are out somewhere and you know that you might be drinking. Bring a designated driver along who will commit to staying sober or have someone standing by who you can call for a ride if you have had too much to drink. If neither of these options are available, plan to call a cab or Uber/Lyft, or reserve a room nearby where you can crash and spend the night.
Make Sure your Teens Stay Safe as Well
If you have teenage kids, it is your responsibility to ensure that they will be safe during the holidays. Speak with your teens about what they will be doing when they go out. Find out where they are going, who they are going to be with, and how they plan on getting home safely if they end up drinking. This may be a difficult conversation to have, but it is also very important that you and your teen are on the same page and that safety is your number one priority.
Injured in DUI Accident in South Carolina? Contact an Experienced Attorney
In spite of our best efforts, we cannot control the negligent or reckless actions of others. If you or someone close to you has been injured at the hands of a drunk driver, you deserve to be fully compensated. If the accident occurred in South Carolina, contact Peake & Fowler for assistance. Call our office today at 803-788-4370 or message us online to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation.