While everyone understands the risk involved with impaired driving, too many drivers are prepared to take that risk. Drunk drivers are among the most dangerous drivers out there, and it may be inevitable you encounter one when driving in Greenville, SC.
Protecting yourself from drunk drivers on the road is key, and fortunately, there are several proactive steps you can take. If you suffered an injury in an accident that is caused by a drunk driver, do not wait to discuss your claim with an experienced Greenville car accident attorney.
Drunk Drivers Are Dangerous Drivers
Drunk drivers are exactly as dangerous as you think they are. Consider the following statistics shared by the Highway Traffic Association (NHTSA):
- In the United States, about 30 percent of all fatal traffic accidents involve a drunk driver.
- Someone loses their life to a drunk driver every 45 minutes in this country.
- Fatal drunk driving accidents increased by a full 14 percent in 2020 (over 2019).
- In 2020, drunk drivers took the lives of 11,654 people.
The fact that every drunk driving accident is preventable makes these dire statistics that much more difficult.
How to Drive Defensively Against Drunk Drivers
There are several important steps we can all take behind the wheel to help protect ourselves from drunk drivers.
One of the most important steps everyone can take to help protect themselves from every risk factor on our roads, including the impairment of others, is buckling up for every leg of every trip – and ensuring that everyone else in the vehicle does the same. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shares the following sobering statistics in support of buckling up:
- 2020 saw a 4 percent increase over 2019 in terms of traffic fatalities in which the victims were not wearing seat belts.
- In 2020, 23,824 occupants of passenger vehicles were killed in traffic accidents, and 51 percent of them were not wearing seat belts.
- Seat belts are estimated to have saved nearly 15,000 lives in a recent year alone. In that same year, another 2,549 might have been saved if seat belts had been worn.
The first line of defense when it comes to your safety is putting on a seat belt before you head out.
Allow plenty of distance between your own and a drunk driver’s vehicle
The more distance you have between your own vehicle and the cars around you, the more time and traveling distance you will have to react safely to whatever you encounter on the road.
These encounters include the unpredictable maneuvers that are common to drunk drivers. When you see a driver exhibiting the tell-tale signs of impairment, allow them all the space you can. The kinds of signs that can tip you off in relation to impairment behind the wheel include:
- Speeding up or slowing down that seems to come out of nowhere
- Drifting across lanes
- Stopping or braking suddenly and without cause
- Coming dangerously close to striking another vehicle, a curb, a safety structure, or anything else
- Driving off the road entirely
If you see clear signs that another driver on the road is drunk, leaving the roadway and alerting the authorities as soon as it is safe to do so is the safest course of action. Plus, you can help save a life in the process.
Proceed with caution through intersections
Intersections represent some of the riskiest spots on our roadways; there are plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong at intersections. Because drunk drivers experience impaired brain functioning, reasoning and muscle coordination, you can expect them to be even more dangerous at intersections.
Passing safely through an intersection involves tracking the traffic all around you, accurately gauging the speed and distance of other drivers, and assessing when it is safe to proceed – all of which are far more challenging for drunk drivers. Even if you have a green stoplight or the right-of-way at a stop sign, look out for drunk drivers running a red light or ignoring signage.
Make wise choices
If you are going out and know you will be having a drink or two, it’s important to plan ahead. Make sure you have all the following options:
- Designating a driver who won’t be drinking
- Calling a taxi or hailing a rideshare service
- Planning on staying over at your destination
If you are the host of an event that includes alcohol, take it upon yourself to make sure no one leaves without a sober driver behind the wheel. Don’t be afraid to take someone’s keys and arrange a safe ride home if you’re concerned that they may be impaired. The risk is simply too great to ignore the issue of drunk driving.
Avoid late night driving whenever possible
There are certain times and certain days when you can expect more drunk drivers to be out and about, including the Fourth of July, the winter holidays, and three-day weekends.
Late-night driving also comes with an increased risk of encountering drunk drivers (especially on the weekends). Keeping your driving to a minimum when you expect the number of drunk drivers to rise can help you stay safe out there.
In a Crash With a Drunk Driver? Call Our Greenville Car Accident Attorney
The skilled car accident attorneys at Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm in Greenville, South Carolina, understand the gravity of your situation and have a long track record of successfully guiding injury claims involving drunk drivers toward favorable outcomes that honor our clients’ rights to compensation.