St. Patrick’s Day is well-known for higher incidents of drunk driving. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe on the roads this holiday, and what to do if you are in a St. Patrick’s Day car accident.
St. Patrick’s Day Drunk Driving Statistics
In 2013, 40 percent of all St. Patrick’s Day fatal car crashes involved drunk driving. There were 276 St. Patrick’s Day drunk driving deaths from 2009 to 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nearly 75 percent of those cases involved blood alcohol concentration readings of at least twice the legal limit.
It gets worse.
St. Patrick’s Day is on a Saturday this year. Saturdays are already the most dangerous days to be driving, because more drunk drivers are on the road. One report indicates that 31 percent of all drunk driving deaths occur on the weekend. The best time to stay off the road is between 12:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., when the worst crashes typically occur.
Pedestrian deaths are also more likely on the weekends, and this St. Patrick’s Day will be no exception. Pedestrians have a greater risk of death both due to their own drinking and to the increase in drunk driving on the weekends. If you’ll be out this St. Patrick’s Day, make sure you watch for pedestrians.
So what can you do to avoid drunk drivers?
Signs That Indicate Drunk Driving
If you plan to be out on the road this St. Patrick’s Day, you need to watch for these signs that may indicate you’re sharing the road with a drunk driver. Stay alert and you’re far more likely to stay safe.
- Weaving or drifting between lanes
- Inability to maintain a single lane
- Driving on top of the lines
- Driving without headlights on
- Sudden or illegal turns
- Inappropriate acceleration or deceleration
- Driving speed far below or above speed limit
- Stopping for no good reason
- Delayed response to traffic signals
- Driving on the shoulder, sidewalks, or lawn
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to stop and pull over as soon as possible. If you can’t pull over immediately, give the other driver as wide of a berth as you can, then pull over at the earliest opportunity. Get the driver’s license plate number, if possible, and call 911 to report them.
Ways to Protect Yourself from Drunk Drivers
About 33 percent of all auto accidents involve drunk driving, and it’s sure to be worse on St. Paddy’s Day. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim. Follow these tips to stay safe on St. Patrick’s Day and any other day of the year.
Wear your seat belt
Your seat belt will protect you from any unexpected collision, especially one with a drunk driver. It’s essential to wear it every single time you’re in your vehicle and insist that everyone else riding with you does the same.
Have a plan in place
Choose a designated driver for the evening. Decide how many drinks you will consume and stick to your plan. If you are going alone, call Uber for a ride home. You can also stay in a hotel or someone’s home where you can spend the night. Any plan that keeps a drinking person from getting behind the wheel potentially helps save lives and prevent injuries.
On St. Patrick’s Day, give yourself more room than usual between you and other drivers. That will give you some reaction time and distance if a collision is looming. It’s important to report another driver who is showing signs of driving drunk, as described above. You will help yourself and many others by calling in the incident.
Watch the intersections
Intersections are a common area where car accidents occur, especially with drunk drivers. Be extra alert when you approach an intersection and look both ways before proceeding. It’s best to take it slower than usual so you can be more aware of the drivers around you.
As mentioned above, the most dangerous time to be on the road is in the early morning hours. Leaving the party a little earlier than normal will reduce your chances of getting in an accident with a drunk driver. With St. Patrick’s Day being on a weekend this year, it’s vital that you have an exit plan and time set before the evening begins to stay on the safe side.
If you are involved in a St. Patrick’s Day drunk driving accident, call a knowledgeable New York car accident attorney for help. We will investigate your case and work to protect your rights. A free consultation will set your mind at ease.