Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and that means weekend road trips to visit family or friends, cooking and eating lots of tasty food, and for those of us who are of age, indulging in a tipple or two. However, with the promise of merriment comes a darker threat: the day before Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Holiday DUI Season, as well.
In fact, over the past five years, more than 800 people have died during drunk driving accidents over the Thanksgiving weekend alone. This disturbing trend is due to a number of factors.
The Dangers of Holiday Travel
Since millions of Americans return to their hometowns for Thanksgiving, the day before – Thanksgiving Eve – is better known to law enforcement and first responders as “Blackout Wednesday,” because it’s one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. People meet up with friends and family, and since they’re home for the weekend, tend to let loose. Many areas experience a significant uptick in drunk driving cases the night before Thanksgiving.
The sheer number of people on the road is a huge factor in the weekend’s driving dangers: the American Automobile Association estimates that more than 45 million Americans will drive a long distance for Thanksgiving. More cars on the road means more traffic, more congestion, and more opportunities for wrecks, even without factoring in the increase in DUIs.
Compounding both of these factors is the poor weather of the holiday season. For much of America, Ohio included, the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is dark, wet, cold, and icy – all hard driving conditions. And if a driver is buzzed or intoxicated, navigating increased congestion, or both, it’s obvious that their chance for a collision goes way up.
Staying Safe While Visiting Loved Ones
There are a number of ways you can stay safe this holiday season. For starters, practice safe and defensive driving by buckling your seatbelt, driving defensively, and obeying all the rules of the road. If you plan to drink at a party or other get-together, be sure to decide on a designated driver before you go, and hand your keys to your host before you have your first drink.
In addition, you can learn the basics of recognizing a drunk driver, to more easily avoid them. Drunk and impaired drivers tend to do one or more of the following:
- Make very wide, abrupt, or illegal turns
- Fail to stay within their lane, either by weaving, swerving, drifting, or straddling
- Nearly running into the side of the highway or other obstacles
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Responding slowly to signals or other changes in traffic flow
- Braking erratically, or for no reason
- Driving without headlights in the dark
If you see a driver exhibiting one of these behaviors, stay away from them as well as you can. If you or a passenger can safely and legally call the police, report the drunk or impaired driver so they will stop endangering themselves and others.
What to Do if You’re in a Drunk Driving Accident This Thanksgiving
If the worst does happen, and you find yourself in an accident with a drunk driver this holiday season, you’ll need a personal injury attorney who can represent your interests against the other person’s insurance. Especially if you or a loved one were injured in the crash, you deserve compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering. After dealing with a car accident case, you shouldn’t have to worry about your family or medical bills, and we know that here at Rinehardt.
Consult with an Expert Drunk Driving Attorney in Ohio
The team of expert car accident lawyers at the law offices of Rinehardt Injury Attorneys has years of experience litigating accidents involving drunk and impaired drivers, and we’re dedicated to fighting for you in court! Give us a call today for a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys to see what our individual attention can do for you. As the premier personal injury lawyers of Ohio, we can promise that our Columbus car accident attorneys will fight for you! It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, truck accident, or a car crash, the Columbus car accident lawyers here at our law firm will get you the compensation you deserve! You can contact us online for a free legal consultation or you can swing by our Mansfield or Columbus office. Either way, we will help all injury victims get what they deserve to recover from their motor vehicle accident. And remember, don’t drink and drive!