Protecting Yourself Against Drunk Drivers

Protecting Yourself Against Drunk Drivers

Understanding the risk of drunk drivers  

Drunk driving cases are among the most tragic, upsetting personal injury cases for one major reason: They’re entirely preventable. While everyone understands that driving has inherent risks, encountering an impaired driver shouldn’t be a risk we face.  

In Georgia, it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood, but drivers get behind the wheel anyway. Twenty-four percent of Georgia crash fatalities in 2019 were related to alcohol impairment, according to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Nationally, an average of 32 people die each day in drunk-driving crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.   

While we can all take individual actions to help prevent drunk driving, including always driving sober ourselves, helping our friends choose sober driving and teaching the young people in our lives that any level of impairment is unsafe, it’s also helpful to know how to detect, avoid and report drunk drivers. If you’re involved in a crash with a drunk driver, it’s also critical to know how to proceed.   

Know when you’re most at risk 

Alcohol-impaired driving can occur at any time in any place, but it’s unsurprisingly most common on weekends and late at night. Midnight to 3 a.m. is the highest-risk time period for fatal alcohol-impaired crashes, according to the NHTSA, followed by 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Even if you can’t readjust social plans or night-shift schedules, staying alert and aware when driving between midnight and 6 a.m. can help prepare you for dangerous drivers.    

Summer celebrations often also lead to an increase in drunk-driving crashes, spiking around Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. December holidays, too, cause an influx of impaired drivers on the road. When planning your holiday celebrations or schedules, ask if there are drives you can shift or avoid. A late night ride home from a lakeside summer BBQ could become an overnight trip. A NYE night out could become a neighborhood party or a cozy, luxe dinner in.  

Know the warning signs  

A BAC of .08 may lead to slow reaction times, poor judgment, impaired memory and reasoning, a lack of speed control and concentration issues. But even below the legal limit, problems arise. At .05, steering becomes more difficult and drivers are less alert. At .02, there’s a reduction in visual function.  

Be especially cautious when you spot someone:  

  • Weaving or drifting in and out of lanes 
  • Riding the center line 
  • Braking erratically or quickly accelerating  
  • Tailgating 
  • Driving well below the speed limit  
  • Driving without headlights at night 
  • Signaling incorrectly  
  • Hitting the curb or narrowly missing other cars  
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road  

If you spot a suspected drunk driver, try to keep your distance and note identifying details (make and model of the car, location, direction of travel and plate number). Then pull over and call 911. You can help get an unsafe driver off the road, potentially saving that person’s life and the lives of others.  

Have a plan for if you’re involved in a crash 

After a crash with a suspected drunk driver, call 911 and get the medical attention you need. Be sure you understand how to get a copy of the responding officer’s accident report and, if you’re able to do so safely, document the scene with photos and notes.  

DUIs can be among the more complex personal injury cases, and attorneys often have to obtain information about previous DUI convictions, toxicology reports and police bodycam recordings. Insurance companies will often try to settle quickly and lowball victims—something an experienced personal injury attorney will help avoid.  

Attorneys for Atlanta Drunk Driving Victims  

If you’ve been hurt by a drunk driver, you need a personal injury attorney who understands the complexity of these accidents. If you need help, contact the personal injury attorneys at Litner + Deganian for a free consultation.   

Related posts