Drunk driving or driving under the influence (or DUI) is a serious and quite common offence not just in Arizona but across the United States. According to ADOT (Arizona Department of Transportation) in 2019 there were 4907 traffic accidents that were alcohol-related, which resulted in 2969 injuries and 256 fatalities. Even though these were the lowest numbers compared to 2017 and 2018, it’s still high.
They are serious, but drink driving accidents are avoidable. Everyone, even those that would never think about sitting behind the wheel drunk, have an important role to prevent these accidents from occurring. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers that also deal with car accident cases, created this short list of tips on how you can prevent drunk driving accidents.
Know your limits
When it comes to alcohol consumption, we’ve all heard the phrase “know your limits”. The trick is to know what this actually is and what are the limits for you without risking driving under influence, causing injuries or death.
There is no “specific” limit for every person. It all varies depending on your age, metabolism, weight, tolerance to alcohol, medication if you’re taking any and of course how hydrated and fed you are. For example, if you have two glasses of wine with your meal, you might feel a bit buzzed but still “together”. On the other hand, the same amount of wine but without a meal, so on an empty stomach, could make you feel a bit tipsy.
To “know your limits” isn’t just about knowing how many drinks you CAN have and sticking to it. It’s also about knowing how some drinks affect you in specific circumstances (whether you’re hungry or not, are you drinking with food or without etc.) and setting your own limit.
In order to avoid getting tipsy or even drunk we recommend that you eat a good meal beforehand, stick to one type of beverage (so don’t mix wine with beer or something like that), have one drink per hour and drink plenty of water in between two drinks.
Bring someone with you
If you’re plan is to go out with friends drinking, it’s always a good idea to bring someone with you who will be your designated driver. Picking the right person isn’t an easy job. Drinking in a bar can tempt someone to have a drink or two and everyone’s body reacts differently to alcohol. It can impair their judgement and perception whether they are capable of driving or not.
So, when it comes to picking a designated driver, make sure that you pick someone who can refrain from drinking for the night. And in case they don’t want to spend the night at the bar drinking water or some other non-alcoholic beverage, they can just drop you off and pick you up later.
Have a plan “B”
Whenever alcohol is involved, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan. If your designated driver ends up drinking or you overindulge, it’s good to have another solution to fall back on. This will not only save you time and money, but it will also save you from drunk driving. Fortunately, there are a lot of alternative ways you can get around in Arizona, without having to get behind the wheel. You could:
- Call an Uber or Lyft
- Use Valley Metro
- Use Designated driver services or
- Call a family member or a friend
Avoid getting into a car with someone who’s been drinking
This isn’t something we should emphasize, that you should never get into a car with someone who’s been drinking. But most passengers in Arizona get injured in drunk driving accidents because of this. We understand that it’s unpleasant to take they keys away from someone you care about, but think of it this way. This might cause an uncomfortable situation, but in the end, you’re doing everything you can in order to prevent your loved one from drunk driving, saving him/her (and maybe others as well) from injuries and even death.
If you notice that your friend’s judgement was impaired due to alcohol, don’t get into the vehicle with them. It’s likely that they will get combative and drive away without you. And if you feel worried about their safety and the safety of others (if they drove away with someone) you should call 911 and report a drunk driver.
Learn how to recognize a drunk driver
In majority of drunk driving accidents in Arizona, the people that get injured or killed in the crash are the sober ones, who were just following the rules of the road and minding their own business.
Unfortunately, you cannot control other driver’s actions on the road. But you can arm yourself with the knowledge of how to spot a drunk driver and defensive driving techniques to avoid them. These are the most common behaviors of drunk drivers:
- Weaving in and out of lanes
- Irregular, sudden and erratic braking
- Rapidly accelerating and stopping
- Driving without headlights
- Driving too slowly
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
If you notice some of these patterns and you suspect that the driver is drunk, you should get out of their way immediately. And if you’re not driving alone, ask your passenger to call 911 and report a potentially drunk driver. You can also call 911 yourself, but make sure that you pull over first.
We hope that these tips will help you avoid and minimize drunk driving and drunk driving accidents in Arizona. If you or your loved ones were injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, make sure to contact our attorneys to learn about your right and how to get proper compensations for your injuries or loss.