Now is a great time to practice your defensive driving skills.
The increase in parties during the month of December, as well as more days off from work for some employees, means that drunk driving increases during the holiday season.
Every day, 29 people in the U.S. die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. New Year’s Eve, in particular, has a high rate of alcohol-related fatalities.
The holidays are a great time to practice your defensive driving skills—the following tips can be especially helpful against drunk drivers.
- Always buckle your seatbelt. Seat belts dramatically reduce the risk of death and serious injury in the event of a crash. Among drivers and front-seat passengers, seat belts reduce the risk of death by 45%, and cut the risk of serious injury by 50%. Fasten your seatbelt every single time you drive and insist that your passengers do the same.
- Don’t text and drive. Texting is one of the top reasons for accidents, and the holidays only heighten its danger. Avoid all distractions while driving, especially cell phones.
- Maintain a generous following distance. Staying back several car lengths will allow you to notice the erratic driving of a drunk driver before he or she is directly in your route. If you notice a car swerving, slowing and speeding up repeatedly, or that a driver is acting strangely, keep your vehicle as far as possible from it.
- Use extra caution at intersections. Accidents involving drunk drivers often occur at intersections when they fail to obey stop signs or traffic signals. Take your time as you drive through intersections, making sure to look both ways and yield to any oncoming traffic.
- Be a designated driver. Staying sober and volunteering to drive home people who have been drinking and would otherwise drive themselves is a proactive way to keep drunk drivers off of the road and prevent yourself (or friends and family) from being involved in an accident caused by impaired driving. Be the responsible person who volunteers to be the designated driver.