People have a tendency to overindulge during the holiday season. They can go overboard when it comes to planning activities, spending money on gifts, or even eating too many Christmas cookies or other treats. Unfortunately, there is also a tendency to overindulge in alcohol at this time of the year, which puts you at an increased risk for car accidents and injuries. To reduce these risks, be aware of how even a couple of drinks can impact your driving skills and be on the lookout for other motorists on the road who may be under the influence.
How Alcohol Impacts Your Driving Skills
December is one of the most dangerous times of the year when it comes to DUI related car accidents. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), these crashes claim the lives of nearly 800 people over the course of the month while leaving thousands of others with serious injuries. The risks increase over the last few weeks of the year when many people are busy attending parties, social functions, and get-togethers with family or friends.
Having a few drinks may seem like a relatively harmless way to celebrate the season, but it is important to realize how even minor amounts of alcohol can impact your driving abilities. The National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns that the following areas are among those most likely to be affected:
- Judgment: Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and impairs your judgment. This can lead to poor decision making. Once you have had a few drinks, you are more likely to downplay the risks of getting behind the wheel or decide to take the chance and drive home anyway.
- Vision: Alcohol impairs your ability to focus, resulting in blurred vision, ‘seeing double’, and increased sensitivity to headlight glare. It also impacts your depth perception, making it harder to stay in your lane and impacting your ability to calculate the distance between you and other vehicles.
- Reaction time: Alcohol impairs your coordination and slows your reaction time. This makes it harder to respond to sudden changes in weather or traffic and to respond to unexpected events on the road.
Know the Signs That Another Driver is Impaired
If you go out and plan on having even a few drinks, make arrangements to take a ridesharing service or have a sober friend drive you home. Even when not drinking, you need to be alert for other drivers on the road who may be impaired. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) states that warning signs include:
- Driving too slow or suddenly accelerating;
- Weaving in and out of lanes;
- Striking or almost striking objects, such as guardrails or curbs;
- Driving with the headlights off;
- Slow responses to traffic signals.
Contact Our Fort Myers Car Accident Attorney
When the actions of another driver leave you suffering serious injuries, the Bernardo Law Firm can help you hold them accountable. To discuss your rights in filing a claim, contact our Fort Myers car accident attorney and request a consultation today.