The holiday season arrives; be aware of drunk drivers

With the winter holiday season having arrived, the joy and merriment, sometimes, become overshadowed by motor vehicle accidents caused by drunk drivers. Too many times, these crashes lead to serious and life-changing injuries and, tragically, deaths.

Drunk drivers during holidays continue to threaten other drivers and their passengers en route to destinations to see family and friends or simply returning home. Be careful and vigilant when you see drivers weaving from lane to lane or traveling at erratic speeds.

Hundreds die each year in drunk driving crashes

Research and personal finance company ValuePenguin reviewed drunk driver-related fatal crashes that occurred during the major holidays of Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In reviewing data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the company found that drunk drivers caused nearly 2,500 fatalities on Thanksgiving and Christmas from 2010 to 2018. That number represented 37% of the holiday deaths caused by drunk drivers.

During that nine-year period, Alabama recorded 21 drunk driving-related fatalities on Christmas and 49 on Thanksgiving.

What to do if spotting a drunk driver

If you see a suspected drunk driver, here are some things to do:

  • Maintain your distance: Keep well behind this driver and consider leaving the road and taking another route.
  • Make sure your seat belt is buckled: A collision may eject you from your vehicle, leading to serious injury and even death.
  • Do not engage with the driver: Alcohol often causes people to lose their inhibitions. This driver may turn aggressive, angry and violent. And what if this person has a gun? Let law enforcement do their job.
  • Record what takes place: You may have to make a mental note. If possible, get the car’s license plate number and a detailed description of the vehicle. Note other details such as the time, location and road on which you travel.
  • Contact law enforcement: Drive to a safe place or pull over and call 911. Provide all details. By doing so, you may be preventing a collision caused by this driver.

Try to maintain your composure, though, it might be difficult. You just may be saving the lives of you, your passengers and other drivers.

Remain vigilant during the holidays

The presence of a drunk driver is frightening. His or her reckless actions and decisions may lead to a preventable tragedy. Remain vigilant on the roads this holiday season.

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