December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. With the winter weather already making roads more dangerous, the risk of a crash worsens with impaired drivers behind the wheel. It’s important to understand what is considered impaired driving and how easily it can be prevented.
What is impaired driving?
Impaired driving isn’t just limited to drunk driving! If you are distracted, sleep-deprived, under the influence of legal or illegal drugs or alcohol, you are an impaired driver. Any of these circumstances can seriously hinder your ability to react in time and prevent a crash. Especially during the holiday season, when drinking is more common, it’s more important than ever to be aware of your state of mind.
Ways to Prevent Impaired Driving
Wait until you know how medication affects you before driving.
Drugs don’t have to be illegal to be destructive. If a prescription clouds your mind, you can be a danger to yourself and everyone else on the road. When you take a new medication, wait a day or two to ensure that it does not affect your judgement. If you must leave during this time, consider using ride-share services like Lyft or Uber.
Choose a designated driver.
Parties are a staple of the holiday season. If there’s alcohol involved at a party you are attending, make sure that you and your group have a plan in place so one person can be the designated driver and allow everyone to get home safely. Let a party be enjoyable without any fear of intoxicated drivers leaving and potentially causing a crash.
Get a good night’s sleep before getting behind the wheel.
A tired driver is no better than a drunk driver. When behind the wheel, your mind must be ready to react to changes in the road, other vehicles, and pedestrians. Falling asleep at the wheel is dangerous to both yourself and everyone around you. In order to prevent exhausted driving, get a good night’s sleep or take a nap beforehand.
Place your phone out of reach.
Although smartphones are becoming more integrated into our everyday life, it ends with driving. There’s no text or call that is worth a second of distraction while on the road. If you need to make a call or answer a text, pull over and do so. If you know that you are at a risk of reading a text message, then be proactive and make the decision to prioritize driving.
If you don’t feel well, don’t drive.
Not all impaired driving stems from malicious intent. If you have a migraine, feel faint, or don’t feel like you can concentrate for long periods of time, find a ride home. During those situations, it’s better to be safe than to wish you were!
Only you can make the decision to be a responsible driver and wait until you are of sound mind to get behind the wheel. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident this holiday season, call Rob Levine & Associates for a free consultation. We want to help you understand the claims process and the options you have.