The best way to avoid a drunk driving accident seems obvious—don’t drink alcohol before you are going to drive anywhere. Simple, right? Realistically, though, there are going to be situations where you want to have a few drinks outside your home. Additionally, other people in Los Angeles and throughout California are going to be doing the same, with varying degrees of consideration as to whether they are in any condition to drive afterward. So, what are your options for doing the best you can to avoid becoming the cause or victim of a drunk driving accident?
The good news is that you don’t have to give up enjoying alcohol entirely at a party, bar, restaurant, or special event. Likewise, there are ways to spot a potentially impaired driver and take steps to protect yourself and others. In this blog post, we offer tips for responsible and cautious drivers. Keep reading to learn how to reduce the risk of car crashes caused by drunk driving.
Responsible Drivers Know When Not to Drive
The key to driving responsibly when you know you are likely to drink is to plan ahead. For example, let’s say you are invited to a celebration at a bar for a coworker who is retiring. It starts at 7 pm and is scheduled to go until ‘whenever.’ The bar is only about 20 minutes away from your home. You know there will likely be some toasting going on, and given the location, more imbibing beyond that.
First, here is what not to calculate in your safe driving plan: the distance from the bar to home. It is a huge mistake far too many drivers make to think that, just because the drive home is short or on local roads, they can get away with driving even if buzzed. The truth is, most car accidents occur within 25 miles of a driver’s home, with the majority of fatal accidents occurring within a mere five mile-radius.
So, what should you consider? We suggest the following:
- Can you be sure that you’ll only want one or two drinks at most?
- If so, will you have them early in the evening (ideally on a full stomach) and then switch to soda or other non-alcoholic beverages in the hours before you drive home?
- What are your alternatives to driving should the answer to either of the above be no? Are you willing to pay for a cab, rideshare, or ask a friend who agrees to remain sober to drive you?
- If you answered yes to the first two questions but slip up and overindulge, are you willing to leave your car at the bar and take alternate transportation home?
Make sure you answer these questions honestly. You will thank yourself later for having a solid plan in place so that you can enjoy your night fully without worry or risk of injuring yourself and others.
Responsible Drivers Know When to Stop Others From Driving
Even if you do everything right and don’t drink and drive yourself, there is no guarantee others will do the same. While there is only so much you can do to keep impaired drivers from harming themselves or others, that does not mean you should not do whatever is possible.
What To Do To Stop A Friend From Driving Drunk
If the drunk person in question is a friend, family member, or work acquaintance, you may be able to intervene directly. Try to avoid making a scene by taking them aside and expressing your concern for their safety because you believe they are too drunk to drive safely. However, if you feel threatened in any way because the intoxicated person is already acting dangerously or violently, approach them along with one or more other friends—there is strength in numbers.
Offer to drive the inebriated person home in their car and take other transportation back after you drop them off. Most drivers who insist on driving while intoxicated do so because they don’t want the hassle of having to return for their car later. If that isn’t feasible, then offer to pay for a cab or rideshare, or see if you can find a mutual friend willing to drive them home.
If the person stubbornly refuses not to drive or become belligerent, you might have to threaten to call the police if they try to leave. In most cases that will stop them from doing something foolish, but you need to be willing to follow through should they try to drive off anyway.
What To Do To Stop A Stranger From Drinking And Driving
If you see a someone you don’t know but suspect is drunk, you might save a life by stopping them from driving away. While you should never put yourself in danger by confronting an inebriated stranger, there are ways to intervene safely. These include notifying the bartender, server, host, or a companion of the person that they appear drunk and should not drive.
Given no other choice, call the police and report that the person is about to get into their car and appears intoxicated. Make sure you provide your location, a description of the make and model of their vehicle, and any other details the authorities request.
When an Accident Happens, We are Here to Help
Even if you do everything you should to avoid drinking and driving and take every opportunity to stop others from doing so, there is no guarantee you won’t be injured by someone far less considerate. Those who think nothing of driving under the influence of alcohol put everyone on our roads in danger of severe injury or worse. If you or your family member was injured or lost their life because of a drunk driving accident, attorney Scott J. Corwin will pursue every avenue for holding the driver accountable for their actions.
Contact our office today by calling (310) 683-2300 or filling out the online contact form to discuss the details of your case and learn more about how we can help you. We offer free consultations, so there’s no reason not to reach out to someone from our team right away.