While drunk driving is a concern for Florida motorists year-round, statistics show that drunk driving accidents typically increase during the holiday season. This is a big reason why the Florida Highway Patrol and local police agencies increase their presence on the roads around the holidays. At the end of 2020, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reported, “Preliminary data show that last December there were 467 alcohol-impaired crashes, which was the most for any month in 2019.” This is not unusual, but it also is not a concern that can be ignored.
One of the first particularly high-risk days for Florida motorists is the day before Thanksgiving. This has become a popular drinking day in recent years—so much so that it has earned nicknames such as “Drinksgiving” and “Blackout Wednesday.” Many revelers continue drinking to excess during celebrations through New Year’s Eve, and many people unfortunately turn to alcohol when coping with depression during the holiday season as well.
This is all on top of the fact that Florida already has one of the highest rates of drunk driving fatalities in the nation.
Florida Residents and Visitors Need to Take Care of Themselves on the Roads
With all of this in mind, Florida residents and visitors need to take care of themselves on the roads this holiday season. At Brian Guralnick Injury Lawyers, we are passionate about preventing drunk driving accidents—because we understand the consequences all too well. Here are some tips we encourage everyone to follow in order to protect themselves and others on Florida’s roads:
1. Never Take Chances When It Comes to Drunk Driving
There is nothing wrong with responsibly enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two during the holiday season. But, the key word here is “responsibly.” If you are planning to drink and also planning to be your own ride home, you need to make absolutely certain that you are not impaired when you get behind the wheel. If you think you might drink to excess, find a safe ride home in advance, and give your keys to a friend or family member who you trust to protect you from making a bad decision.
No one should ever take chances when it comes to drunk driving. It isn’t worth it, and it isn’t fair to all of the people you will potentially be putting in harm’s way. If you will be drinking this holiday season, make smart choices, and make sure you do not become a danger to yourself and others on the road.
2. If You See Something, Say Something
If you are at a holiday party and you see someone who has had too much to drink staggering to their vehicle, walk over and intervene. While the exchange might be uncomfortable in the moment, you can feel confident knowing that you are doing the right thing. If this person remembers what you did for them, they will almost certainly thank you the next time you cross paths.
Likewise, if you are riding with someone and you see another car that looks like it might have a drunk driver at the wheel, let your driver know immediately. Do not assume that he or she will see the drunk driver, too. Common signs that a driver might be drunk behind the wheel include:
- Weaving, swerving, or drifting out of the driver’s lane
- Driving well below or well above the speed limit
- Driving without headlights at night
- Running stoplights or stop signs without slowing down
- Failing to maintain a constant speed
- Braking suddenly for no apparent reason
- Drinking in the driver’s seat
3. Don’t Hesitate to Call the Police or Ask for Help
If you can’t stop someone from getting in their car and driving away on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Likewise, if you encounter a drunk driver on the road, you should call the police. The Florida Highway Patrol encourages motorists to dial “Star FHP” (or *347), “to report drunk drivers, traffic crashes, stranded or disabled motorists, or any suspicious incidents occurring on Florida roadways.”
While it can be difficult to muster the courage to call for help – especially if you are not 100% certain that the person is too drunk to drive – just know that you are doing the right thing. There is nothing wrong with putting safety first (and, as we said above, people should not take chances when it comes to drunk driving). If you have concerns, you are probably right. If you are right, your call could save someone’s life.
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4. Avoid Driving Distractions This Holiday Season
Distracted driving is also a major concern during the holiday season. To make sure you are able to spot drunk drivers and give yourself the best chance of avoiding them, be sure to leave your phone alone while you are driving. Phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media updates can all wait. If anything truly can’t wait, find a safe place to pull over so that you can focus on doing one thing at a time. While many people seem to think they can do two things at once, studies show that driving distractions can have the same effects as alcohol impairment.
5. Know What To Do After a Drunk Driving Accident
Finally, since there are going to be drunk drivers out there this holiday season, it is important to know what to do in the event that you are involved in a drunk driving accident. The steps you take after a car accident can have a significant impact on your physical, financial, and emotional recovery. After being involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, it is important to:
- Call 911 from the scene of the accident and wait for the police to arrive
- If possible, collect the drunk driver’s vehicle and insurance information at the scene
- If possible, collect contact information from any witnesses
- Talk to a lawyer right away (before you call your insurance company)
Schedule a Free Consultation at Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers
The team at Brian Guralnick Injury Lawyers Demand More® and so should you. If you have been injured in a Palm Beach County accident, I encourage you to contact me, Brian D. Guralnick, personally to discuss your legal rights. To learn how the injury team at Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers can help you Demand More® for your injuries, call 561-202-6673 now or contact us online. Isn’t it time that you Demand More®?
You should not take any information in this blog as legal advice in any situation. If you need expertise for a specific issue of yours, contact a qualified Personal Injury attorney.