Be On the Lookout for Drunk Drivers around the Holidays
In the next few weeks, many of us will be celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or other traditional religious or secular holidays with our families and friends. These holiday celebrations often involve good food, exchanging gifts, and for some, drinking alcohol more often than usual. As a result, there are often more drunk drivers on the road around the holidays, putting everyone on the road at risk. In fact, according to BACtrack, DUI arrests are at their highest during the period between Thanksgiving and the end of New Years' weekend.
Unfortunately, people are going to keep getting behind the wheel when they shouldn't despite increased DUI enforcement and public awareness campaigns. If you are injured by a drunk driver this holiday season, it's important that you do everything you can to protect your rights, which starts by calling an experienced Nashville car accident attorney to handle your case.
How to Keep Yourself Safe
Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to keep yourself as safe as possible this holiday season. Some of the most important are detailed in the material below.
Don't Drink and Drive
It may seem obvious, but one of the easiest things you can do to minimize your chances of getting into an accident is not drinking and driving yourself. Importantly, even small amounts of alcohol can impair your judgment and reaction time, so even if you aren't over the legal limit, any drinking at all can make it more likely that you will be unable to avoid an accident with someone who is drunk.
The most effective way to avoid drinking and driving around the holidays is to plan ahead so you don't get into a situation where you have had a few and are tempted to just drive home. Ride with a friend who has agreed to be a designated driver, take a cab or Uber, or plan to sleep at a friend's house or a nearby hotel. If you are hosting a holiday party, you can help people avoid drinking and driving by arranging transportation and serving non-alcoholic drinks.
Avoid Areas with Lots of Bars and Restaurants
Another way you can reduce your risk of getting hit by a drunk driver over the next several weeks is to avoid areas that have a significant number of bars and restaurants. Not surprisingly, many people go to bars and restaurants to drink and socialize after work, and the stress of the holidays may increase the number of people doing so. In addition, many businesses choose to have their holiday parties at nearby establishments, and it stands to reason that more holiday parties will lead to more drunk drivers leaving those parties.
Learn How to Spot a Drunk Driver
When you are on the road around the holidays, you should be more vigilant than ever to avoid drivers who seem like they may be impaired. Some of the signs that a driver may be drunk include:
- Weaving or changing lanes frequently
- Making wide or illegal turns
- Driving too slowly
- Almost hitting things
- Responding slowly to traffic lights or the flow of traffic
- Erratic braking
- Driving without headlights
- Aggressive driving
If you see a driver that you think may be drunk, stay behind them, and give them plenty of space. When you can, pull over and report the driver to the local police department.
What Should You Do if You are Involved in an Accident with a Drunk Driver?
The unfortunate reality is that sometimes there's nothing you can do to avoid an accident with a drunk driver. In the event that you are in a crash and suspect that the other driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there are certain things that you should do to protect your legal rights. Some of the most important of these include:
Call the Police
You should call the police after any accident, but it is especially important to do so after an accident involving a drunk driver. Police officers are trained to spot the signs of intoxication, and if they share your suspicion that the other driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol, they will conduct sobriety testing and may arrest him or her. Not only does it make us all safer to get drunk drivers off the road, but it may also make recovering compensation easier if the other driver is ultimately convicted of DUI.
Seek Medical Attention
You should be sure to seek medical attention after an accident with a drunk driver, even if you do not believe that you are severely injured. Not only is it important to get checked out to make sure that you do not need treatment, but it is also important to start developing a medical record that details your injuries and their severity. When it comes time to make a claim, the insurance company will certainly want to see documentation of your injuries and other losses, and seeing a physician is a good way to ensure you have it.
Call a Lawyer as Soon as You Can
While the state of Tennessee gives injured victims one year to file a claim, it's advisable to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident with a drunk driver. Insurance companies will do anything they can to reduce the amount of your settlement, and while you are unrepresented, your rights are unprotected. Once you have a lawyer, he or she will handle the legal aspects of your case for you, allowing you to focus on your physical and emotional recovery.
Injured by a Drunk Driver? Call a Nashville Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you are injured by a drunk driver this holiday season, Labrum Law should be your first call once you are sure you are safe. Nashville personal injury attorney Harlene Labrum and her skilled team are committed to helping victims of drunk drivers obtain the compensation to which they are entitled under Tennessee law. To schedule a free case evaluation, call our office today at (615) 338-9500 or send us an email through our online contact form.