With the 4th of July holiday around the corner, you are probably making plans to travel to see fireworks, visit with friends and family for a backyard cookout, or even take the time for a family vacation. The holiday weekend is a perfect time to relax, have some fun, and reconnect with others.
Unfortunately, the Fourth of July holiday is also one of the deadliest days to be on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is an average of 446 fatalities each year involving motor vehicle accidents over the Fourth of July weekend. Of those fatalities, 38% were due to DUI accidents. Let’s take a look at:
- Independence Day DUI Accidents Statistics
- How to Spot an Impaired Driver
- What to do if You Encounter an Impaired Driver
- What to do if You’re Injured by a Drunk Driver
Independence Day DUI Accidents Statistics
More people are injured or die in alcohol-related crashes in July than in any other month of the year. The fourth of July holiday period contributes to that statistic and is the deadliest time to be on the road. Other DUI and alcohol-related accident statistics include:
- In 2019, 515 people died in accidents over the July 4th holiday period.
- Thirty-eight percent of drivers killed in 4th of July accidents had a blood-alcohol concentrate (BAC) level above .08. It is illegal to drive with a BAC above .08 in all states except Utah (the threshold for Utah is .05).
- In 2019, 69% of those who died in alcohol-impaired crashes over the 4th of July were in a crash with at least one driver or motorcyclist with a BAC at or above .15. At a BAC of .15, a person has less control over their balance, and walking and talking are difficult, let alone driving.
- Unsurprisingly, most accidents occur during the nighttime hours. Nearly 4 out of 5 alcohol-related crash fatalities occurred between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- One person was killed every 52 minutes in a drunk driving crash on our nation’s roads.
- Men are more likely than women to be driving drunk in fatal crashes. In 2019, 21% of men were drunk, compared to 14% of women.
- In 2019, motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes had higher percentages of impairment than any other type of driver (29% for motorcycle riders, compared to drivers of passenger cars (20%), light trucks (19%), and large trucks (2%).
How to Spot an Impaired Driver
If you are traveling on the 4th of July, particularly at night, learn the signs of impaired driving. Driving defensively can help you be safe on the roads and avoid an accident with a drunk driver. If you suspect you are sharing the road with a drunk driver, call 911 for help.
The most common behaviors of a drunk driver are:
- Failing to stay in their designated lane. Drunk drivers have a hard time concentrating or seeing the road and tend to swerve back and forth between lanes. If you see someone swerving between lanes while you are driving home, keep a safe distance from the vehicle.
- Hugging the center double line. One strategy of impaired drivers is to hug the center lane to avoid swerving. If you see a vehicle driving too close to the center line or even the curbside line, they may be impaired.
- Dinging or hitting objects. Did the driver in front of you collide with a mailbox, a traffic cone, or a sign? This is a huge indicator that the driver is intoxicated.
- Making wide or short turns. When someone is drunk, they have trouble judging distances and may have a challenge making common maneuvers such as a turn.
- Driving slowly. Most impaired drivers realize they are too drunk to drive, but still take the risk and try not to get caught. An impaired driver may try to avoid the police by driving slowly, sometimes 10 miles under the speed limit.
- Tailgating. Another strategy for drunk drivers to arrive safely at their destination is to mimic or follow the car in front of them closely. If you have someone tailgating you, especially late at night, they may be using you as guidance to stay on the road.
- Not using headlights. Alcohol makes people forgetful, and impaired drivers may forget to turn on their headlights.
- Signaling too early or not at all. An impaired driver may try to be extra cautious and use their turn signal earlier than usual or conversely, may completely forget to use turn signals at all.
- Excessive braking. When someone has too much to drink, their reaction time is affected. Drunk drivers may ride their brakes to counteract the delayed reaction time.
What To Do If You Encounter an Impaired Driver
If you suspect you are sharing the road with a drunk driver, it’s important to keep yourself and others safe. Even if you feel you are not at risk for an accident, the driver may still crash and injure others. If you spot a drunk driver, you should:
- Stay far away from the vehicle. Do not attempt to get close to the car to see if you can determine why, they are driving erratically.
- Never attempt to stop the driver. If you approach the car to try to get them to stop, they make get scared and drive faster to get away from your vehicle.
- Do not pass the car, even if you are on a two-lane highway. Attempting to pass the impaired driver may make them confused and cause them to swerve into your vehicle.
- Be prepared for a collision. You should always be wearing your seatbelt, but if for some reason it is not buckled, buckle it. Make sure all passengers in your vehicle are restrained safely.
- Pull over and call 911. Even if there are no other drivers on the road except for you and the impaired driver, you should still call 911 to report the drunk driver.
Injured by a Drunk Driver? Call a Personal Injury Attorney Today!
Motor vehicle accidents can be devastating, and when you are involved in one that is a result of drinking and driving, it can cause serious injuries and stress. If you were injured by a drunk driver, reach out the experienced personal injury team at Georgelis, Larsen & Sabatino Injury Law Firm, P.C. for help. Our attorneys have represented hundreds of car accident victims and helped them get the compensation they deserve.
Stay safe on the roads this summer and reach out if you need us. We are available 24/7 to help you understand your rights and how to proceed. Call 1-800-HURT-NOW for a free consultation.