With 2016 coming to an end, it’s very likely that you’ll have a lot of holiday parties on your social calendar. Whether you’re hosting or attending a get-together, it’s a lot of fun to get into the holiday spirit and drink alcohol, even a bit more than you would normally. However, while you may already drink responsibly, you can’t control what other people do before they get on the road after a night of drinking.
Due to all of the celebrations, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are especially dangerous nights to drive. The key for avoiding accidents is, above all else, to be vigilant. The Indianapolis personal injury attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham have put together the following set of tips to help you stay out of harm’s way this holiday season.
1. Get a Designated Driver (DD)
If you’re going out with a group of friends, designate someone in the group to be a non-drinker to ensure that all of you have a safe way home. If your designated driver ends up having a few drinks, play it safe and get a ride home in a taxi, Uber, or a Lyft.
Try your hardest to not let your friends drive after drinking alcohol (even if you have to take away someone’s keys).
If you’re out of options, get yourself a hotel room for the night or see about staying with a friend if you’ve been drinking and there isn’t a good way for you to get home. It might not be the ideal situation, but it’s better than putting yourself or others’ lives at risk.
If you’re taking your celebration to a bar, avoid staying out too late. Most drunk driving crashes happen very late at night or early in the morning, which is when bars tend to close. Leave before closing time and stay off the roads between 2 and 3 AM.
2. Offer Guests a Warm Bed and Plenty of Food
If you’re hosting a holiday party and serving alcohol, do what you can to make sure your guests stay safe. Open up your couch to those who need to rest before heading out. For those guests that are heading out after your party is over, make sure they leave with a sober driver. Have a number for a cab service handy for those that need it and offer to pay for the fare. Stop serving alcohol about an hour or two before your party is supposed to end to make sure that no one decides to have another drink for the road.
At the party itself, make sure you have a variety of options for your spread. Serve lots of food to slow the rate of alcohol consumption, but avoid salty snacks, which can make people thirsty and want to drink more. Make sure that you offer alcohol-free beverage options, like non-alcoholic punch, soda, juice, and water. Never pressure your guests to drink if they don’t want to, and absolutely do not serve alcohol to minors.
3. Avoid Driving, Even if You’re Sober
It’s safest to avoid roads altogether on holidays, but if you must drive, make sure that your car is well-maintained. A vehicle that’s in good condition allows you to have maximum control in a situation where a lot of factors are out of your hands. Working brakes and tires in particular can allow you to stop, turn, and accelerate quickly to avoid danger. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and keep a safe distance from the cars around you, as drunk drivers tend to be unpredictable.
Country roads can sometimes be even more dangerous than city roads. The poor visibility at night, winding curves, wildlife, and often poor maintenance are enough of a challenge to deal with under normal circumstances. Avoid them when possible on nights when drunk drivers could be out and about. The same goes for two-lane highways: stick as far to the right as you can to minimize the risk of someone hitting you head-on from the opposite direction.
Be aware of the following signs of a potential drunk driver:
- Making very wide, abrupt, or illegal turns
- Not staying inside the lane, whether they’re weaving, swerving, drifting, or straddling the center line
- Almost striking things with their vehicle
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Responding slowly to traffic signals or driving slowly
- Braking erratically, especially for no reason
- Driving without headlights when it’s dark out
If you encounter a drunk driver, stay behind them and slow down to make sure you have a lot of distance between you. As soon as it’s safe to do so, pull over and call 911 to report the driver. You will want the make, model, and color of the car, as well as the plate number if you can get it.
Were You Injured by a Drunk Driver?
If you were injured in Indianapolis by a drunk driver, you might be able to recover compensation for your injuries with the help of an accident attorney. For the Indianapolis area, get in touch with our very own experienced car accident lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation. Either call us at 317.920.6400 or fill out our online contact form below.
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