DWI Accident Avoidance: Safety Guidelines to Protect You from Drunk Drivers
According to statistics from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), every 45 minutes someone in America is fatally injured in a drunk driving accident. In addition, the chance of being involved in a fatal car accident increases significantly when a driver reaches a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.05 percent. The odds climb even higher as the BAC rises.
Considering these stats, don’t you think it would be prudent to learn how to identify, avoid, and plan for the possibility of suffering a drunk driving accident? After all, it’s not only your life you need to protect, but also your family’s lives.
Identify the Risks
Identifying potentially drunk and impaired drivers is essential for your safety. Not everyone drinks responsibly, and you don't want someone else’s poor decisions to leave you seriously injured. Therefore, if you see a driver exhibiting the following telltale signs of insobriety, you need to take caution:
- Swerving in-and-out of the lane.
- Making seemingly illogical changes in speed.
- Disregarding any rules of the road.
Avoid the Intoxicated Driver
If you notice the potential signs that a driver is inebriated you must remain calm and cautious. You can’t rely on instinct or predict what the drunk driver may or may not do. As such, the safest things for you to do are:
- Distance yourself. Slow down and attempt to change lanes to put as much distance as possible between you and the impaired driver. When it is safe, pull over or turn into a parking lot.
- Notify the police. Once you are safely parked, call 911 and give the make, model, license plate, etc. to the dispatcher, as well as the location of where you last saw the vehicle.
- Take a different route. After you’ve notified the police, decide on a different route to continue your travels. Although the driver may be far away from you at this point, you never know if you’d catch up with him, or if he already caused an accident on the previous route. It’s safer to just avoid that area altogether.
Plan Ahead for Collision Risks
Although identifying and avoiding danger seem to be an easy success plan, carrying out this plan is more easily said than done. This is why it is important to know what to do if a drunk driver hits you.
First off, you’ll want to take a deep breath and try to stay calm. If possible, exit the vehicle, get to a safe location away from traffic, and wait for authorities to arrive. Once they arrive, make sure you give a full account of what happened in order for your statement to be documented and used later if you decide to pursue an injury claim.
Whether you immediately decide to pursue a claim or not, there are four specific things that you need to secure following an accident to ensure your best chances of gaining compensation for your damages. These include proper…
- Documentation. Any evidence you can put together from the accident scene, such as police reports, witness statements, or even video of the crash scene can be advantageous when presenting your case to a jury. Your attorney can help you gather these materials after the fact, but if you have the forethought to gather evidence at the accident scene, that would be extremely helpful. Make sure you keep every bit of information about the accident and your injuries in an accident file for future reference.
- Discretion. To avoid miscommunication or damaging accusations, refrain from giving a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster until after you’ve sought out legal help. You should also avoid talking with anyone about the accident (besides the police) or posting comments and photos about it to social media sites; these are public and can used against you.
- Preservation. You are more likely to be successful in gaining the compensation you seek if you are doing everything you can to preserve your recovery. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and don’t do anything that might put your health at further risk. Even if you don’t think you suffered major injuries, it’s important not to refuse medical treatment, as you may have hidden internal injuries. Bear in mind that medical records are vital to car accident claims should you decide to pursue compensation.
- Representation. This might be the most critical factor in determining the success of your case. Having a skilled, experienced DWI attorney on your side can give you a decided advantage. In addition to helping you gather evidence and build a strong case, he will be there to provide support and guidance throughout the entire ordeal. There’s no need to go through this daunting process alone.