Stay out of harm's way while driving this holiday season

The holiday season is here -- and from now until New Year's Day, you could be in danger while you're on the road from a drunk driver.

Part of the reason there are so many car accidents during Christmas and New Year's is simple mathematics: The more people you have sharing a road, the more likely some of those people will crash into each other.

However, the other reason that you see so many traffic accidents during the holidays is that there's a lot of drinking going on. A lot of people seem to believe that the only way to make the Yule season bright and merry is to imbibe in the holiday spirits.

In recent years, there's been a significant dip in the number of alcohol-related car crash fatalities over Christmas and New Year's. Researchers believe that may be, in part, because there have been a few aggressive campaigns designed to eliminate drinking and driving during those holidays. However, don't let the fact that the number of fatalities has decreased lull you into a false sense of security. There are still plenty of drunk drivers on the road. For example, there was an average of 231 fatalities on Christmas between 2011 and 2015.

How can you protect yourself and your family from a drunk driver? There are a few basic tips you can use:

  • Avoid the roads as much as possible between the time the bars close until morning.
  • In general, try to avoid roads that take you anywhere near a bar district or popular nightclub.
  • If you see a driver weaving, driving the wrong way, driving too slowly or otherwise behaving erratically, pull over and get out of their way. Then call 911 and alert the police. (Don't try to handle the problem yourself.)
  • If you see a friend or relative has had too much to drink, offer to call a cab or take them home.

Despite your best efforts, you may still wind up in a car wreck with a drunk driver. If that happens, you may need solid legal representation to help you obtain fair compensation for your injuries.

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Vincent J. DeSalvo, Attorney at Law
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