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One of the greatest dangers on the roads today is without question drunk drivers. According to the latest numbers available from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), in the state of Florida alone, it is estimated that one out of every three deaths on our roads and well over forty percent of motor vehicle accidents, in general, can be attributed to an alcohol-impaired driver.

While these numbers alone are scary enough, consider that they don’t include drivers impaired by any substance other than alcohol and that they are based solely on averages and don’t take into account that this time of year can see a jump in traffic fatalities in excess of twenty percent over the rest of the year.

These are the realities that I deal with every day in my personal injury law practice and as the old saying goes, “familiarity builds contempt”. There are few types of cases that make me angrier than ones involving impaired drivers. While with many other types of cases, someone simply makes a mistake or does something dumb, with an impaired driver, it is always a conscious choice.

No one makes them drink or use drugs and get behind the wheel. They didn’t get caught up in the heat of the moment and down a six-pack. There was no faulty piece of equipment other than their minds that caused them to drive drunk. It is a matter of personal choice and shows a complete disregard not only for their own safety but the safety of everyone they share the road with.

This wasn’t meant to be a personal editorial, on drunk driving so please, forgive me. If you can’t tell this is a subject I take very personally. If you saw the some of the cases that cross my desk, trust me, you would too.

This post is intended to give you a few tip’s, based on professional advice and my own personal experiences, on how to stay safe during the holidays, despite having to share the road with those of less than sterling judgment.

Safe Driving Tips

Wear Your Seat Belt

This should be a no-brainer and I won’t even bother to explain why it is so important.

Maintain Your Distance

Space is time and time to react, to the unexpected, can many times be the difference between a good story to tell your friends and tragedy.

Avoid Two-Lane Roads

According to the U.S. General Accountability Office, 61% of all traffic deaths occur on two-lane roads and highways. These roads are not only narrower and offer less room for evasive maneuvers, than the main traffic arteries, they are by percentage less patrolled and therefore a favorite for those trying to avoid detection by authorities.

Stay to the Right

This one can be especially helpful for my brothers in the motorcycle fraternity. One of the surest signs of an intoxicated driver is their tendency to drift out of their lane. By staying to the right side of your lane you greatly reduce your chances of getting unexpectedly sideswiped or even worse hit head-on.

Don’t Assume

Anticipating what other drivers are going to do is a natural part of driving but don’t take it to the point of assuming they will behave properly. You can never be sure what a drunk will or won’t do behind the wheel.

Help Don’t Hinder Authorities

This may be the most controversial of all the tips here but the most critical. If you encounter a checkpoint, while driving, cooperate and don’t give the officers a hard time. They are giving up their holidays to try and make yours safer.

Don’t broadcast where checkpoints are located. It is better to bail your buddy out of jail on a DUI charge than manslaughter or vehicular homicide because you helped them avoid a sobriety check.

If you see what appears to be an impaired driver, notify the authorities immediately. You could be saving a life.

Most importantly this holiday season, be responsible yourself.

  • Volunteer to be the designated driver for your friends. You could save their lives.
  • If your friends do drink, don’t let them drive. Take their keys. Call them a cab. Better hard feelings than lost lives.

Here is to hoping you have a safe and merry holiday season free from trouble and strife.