We all look forward to that midnight toast and gleefully celebrate the ball dropping in the new year. While New Years can be full of optimism and joy, it is important to approach the holiday with a plan so you don’t end up behind the wheel after a few too many champagne toasts.
Before heading out for the night, check out these tips to help you stay safe on the road this holiday.
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Say No to Drinking and Driving
Drinking and driving is a recipe for disaster. Drunk driving accidents are more common during holidays, especially when those holidays are combined with long weekends. Here’s what you can do to keep you or your loved ones safe this holiday.
- Be a designated driver.
- Keep track of how much you are drinking and remember to eat!
- Make a plan to get home safely, whether through ridesharing or a designated driver. Alternatively, see if you can stay with your host or friend.
- Buzzed is drunk. Don’t get behind the wheel; call a cab.
- If you’re hosting, check with guests as they leave to make sure no one gets behind the wheel drunk. Be ready to have a couple people crash at your place just in case. You can even collect keys to make sure no one leaves without seeing you first!
Spotting a Drunk Driver
You’ve likely questioned another driver’s sobriety at one time or another. Here are some possible signs that someone on the road may be driving drunk.
Beware drivers who are exhibiting many of these signs:
- Tailgating you or another car.
- Accelerating or decelerating quickly.
- Braking erratically.
- Failing to signal properly.
- Haphazardly weaving across lanes of traffic.
- Driving on the shoulder of the road.
- Drifting in and out of different lanes.
- Driving in more than one lane at a time.
- Driving on the wrong side of the road.
- Having difficulty with traffic signals.
- Swerving dangerously.
- Driving without their headlights on at night.
- Going more than 10 mph below the speed limit.
- Making illegal turns or abrupt turns.
When combined, these signs may indicate a drunk driver. While an officer would likely pull over a driver exhibiting these signs, the police can’t be everywhere, especially on a popular holiday where plenty of people are on the road.
What to Do if You Encounter a Drunk Driver
While there’s no way to guarantee another driver is drunk unless you’ve watched them drink, erratic behaviors like those listed endanger other drivers.
If you believe you have spotted a drunk driver, steer clear. Don’t try to signal to them or catch their attention. Make sure you are a safe distance away in case you need to maneuver away from them.
If you have a passenger, ask them to collect the driver’s info — their license plate number, the model and make of their vehicle, and the direction in which they’re headed — and have them call it into 911. Your passenger should be able to explain the situation and the signs you have witnessed. Law enforcement can take it from there.
If you are driving by yourself and can recall the other driver’s info, pull over to a safe location before calling 911 with the other driver’s information.
Throughout, remember that your safety is paramount. If you can’t safely collect the information or call the authorities, don’t fret. Make sure that you and your passengers are safe. Consider taking another route if it puts more distance between you and the dangerous driver.