Many holidays pose a greater risk of drunk driving-related deaths than other days, and Labor Day is among the worst. It never seems to reach the top spot, but it is consistently in the top five. Now, another Labor Day is upon us.
In a perfect world, none of us would get behind the wheel of a car when we weren’t at our most rested, focused, not in a hurry, and 100 percent sober.
In a slightly less than perfect world, those who drive when not sober, rested, and focused would be detected and arrested before causing an accident and convinced to undergo rehabilitation treatment for alcohol use disorder.
Drunk drivers have driven drunk 80 times before they are caught and ticketed. One of the worst things about driving drunk is that while reaction time and other necessary driving skills are impaired, the drivers perceive that they are better drivers than they are and take more chances.
Unfortunately, the risks of there being some drunk drivers on the road aren’t suffered only by those drivers but also by any other drivers or pedestrians they might encounter. Whether on foot or in another vehicle, the drunk driver is more likely to survive. You need to drive defensively.
Law enforcement officials say signs associated with drinking and driving include when the driver:
- Makes wide turns.
- Weaves, swerves, drifts, or straddles the line in the road.
- Almost strikes an object or vehicle.
- Drives on the wrong side of the road.
- Drives at a very slow speed.
- Stops without cause.
- Brakes erratically.
- Responds slowly to traffic signals.
- Makes abrupt or illegal turns.
- Drives after dark with headlights off.
If you encounter such driving behavior, consider pulling over and reporting the driver to 9-1-1.
- Designate a driver. One member of the group doesn’t drink any alcoholic beverages and remains sober.
- If you’re going out alone, don’t drink any alcohol. Even one cocktail may have a lot more alcohol than you think.
- If it’s a party at a home, have everyone hand over their keys as they arrive. Don’t return them if they try to leave while intoxicated. They have to get a ride from a friend, a taxi or a ride-share service.
- If it’s a party you’re hosting, make sure there are non-alcoholic alternatives and water.
- Eat something. You’re more likely to get intoxicated on an empty stomach. Alternate alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks.
For your safety, never ride with someone who is intoxicated, whether you’re intoxicated or not.