Staying Safe: Watch Out for Drunk Drivers
Call a Columbus DUI lawyer if you get pulled over
The holidays can be a particularly dangerous time for driving. Cold weather makes roads slick, short days lead to more driving at night, and some people have a few too many with friends and family before getting into their cars.
Even if you stay stone sober this holiday season, the roads can still be treacherous. That’s why it’s important to keep your wits about you and be especially diligent about driving defensively during the holidays.
You don’t have to be drunk to be killed in a drunk driving accident. Passengers, pedestrians, and sober motorists are all at risk when a drunk person gets behind the wheel. And sadly, even children are at risk.
In fact, in 2010, drunk drivers caused more deaths than firearms.
During the holidays, reports of DUIs and DUI-related accidents spike, putting drivers at that much more risk when they take to the roads during the holidays. While it’s unrealistic to expect people to simply not drive, as many of us have plans to travel and visit with friends and loved ones, there are certain steps you can take while driving in order to keep yourself out of harm’s way.
How to stay safe
As always, you should follow all posted signage, maintain legal speed limits and regularly check your mirrors when driving. Additionally, here are a few defensive driving techniques you can use to keep yourself safe on the roads:
Look both ways through intersections, even if you have a green light – Drunk drivers typically have poor reaction time, and may believe they can make it through a yellow light long after it’s turned red. By giving the crossroad a quick glance, you can check to see if anyone is disregarding the red light and quickly approaching the intersection, and wait until they’ve passed.
Maintain a larger than normal following distance – It’s not unusual for drunk drivers to suddenly or unexpectedly brake without warning. This, combined with potentially slippery winter roads can lead to dangerous rear-end collisions. By keeping an increased following distance of four to six vehicle lengths, you can minimize the danger brought about by this set of circumstances.
Assume other drivers will make mistakes – How often are you stopped at an intersection, notice an oncoming driver with his turn signal on, and think nothing of it? We all get away with things like this from time to time, but during the holidays, it’s important to not take any risks or shortcuts. What if the oncoming driver is drunk, left his signal on, and has no intention of turning.
Here are a few ways you can prepare for other drivers’ mistakes:
- Wait for drivers to turn before pulling out in front of them, even if their signal is on
- Avoid blind spots
- Give other drivers extra space when they are passing or merging
- Flash brights at drivers who have forgotten to turn their lights on
What to do if you spot a drunk or reckless driver
If you’re out and about this holiday season and notice a driver who’s weaving, drifting or acting in an erratic manner, there are certain steps you can take to protect yourself and keep the roads safe for other drivers.
First, keep a safe distance. Don’t attempt to pass them as them may make unexpected turns or swerves. Also make sure you leave enough following distance in case they brake unexpectedly.
Take note of the make and model of the vehicle, its location and where it’s heading. If possible, get the license plate number, but remember to not get too close.
Once you find this information, pull over and call the police, or have a passenger do it for you. Let the authorities know you’ve spotted a potentially dangerous driver and give them all the information you’ve gathered. By helping the highway patrol keep an intoxicated driver off the roads, you could help save lives–both the driver’s and anyone he or she may have hit.
Get it touch with a Columbus DUI lawyer
If you’ve been stopped and arrested for a DUI this holiday season, call the professional, specialized Columbus drunk driving attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer. They’ll thoroughly analyze your case and work to get you the best result.