drunk driving crashes

The holiday season often means more opportunities for festive celebrations, but unfortunately it also brings an increased risk of drunken driving crashes. As a Queens car accident lawyer, I see the devastating effects these accidents can have each year. Though we all want to enjoy the holidays, we must be mindful of making smart and safe choices while out on the winter roads.

In this article, I’ll discuss ways we can try to avoid drunk driving accidents in Queens this holiday season and keep our roads safer for everyone. Having represented numerous victims of these crashes over my career, my hope is that being informed and proactive can help reduce these incidents.

The Risks of Holiday Drunk Driving

We all know driving while impaired by alcohol is dangerous and illegal, yet drunk drivers still cause nearly one-third of all traffic deaths in the United States per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unfortunately, the risk increases between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Over the holidays, drunk driving crashes tend to increase for a few key reasons:

  • More parties and festivities where alcohol is served
  • People travelling longer distances to visit family and friends
  • Drivers on less familiar roads or in bad weather conditions
  • More people on the roads in general over the holidays

We also can’t forget that drunk driving accidents affect more than just the impaired drivers. Innocent lives are ruined every winter holiday season because of the reckless choices made by others on the road.

As a Queens resident myself in addition to being a car accident lawyer in the borough, this hits close to home. I know we can all do better to prevent these needless drunk driving crashes around the holidays in our neighborhoods.

What Queens Residents Can Do

While we can’t necessarily control what others do, there are still things we can each do in Queens to stay safer and try to prevent drunk driving accidents this holiday season.

  1. Plan ahead and designate a sober driver If you plan to drink at a holiday party, plan how you’ll safely get home ahead of time. Assign a friend to stay sober and drive, call a cab or rideshare, take public transportation, or ask someone to pick you up.
See also  All the Difference Finding the Right Bankruptcy Law Firm 

Having a smart transportation plan in place before the party allows you to make responsible choices. Don’t wait until you’ve already been drinking to figure out how you’ll get home. As your Queens Car accident lawyer, I always recommend advance planning when alcohol is involved.

  • Help family and friends stay safe Offer to drive your loved ones home from holiday events to ensure they don’t drive while impaired. Or be the voice of reason by encouraging them to use a rideshare or taxi if you see they’ve had too much to drink. They’ll appreciate the gesture in the morning.

You can even motivate them by reminding them a DUI arrest or, even worse, a tragic drunk driving accident can ruin the holidays and their lives. Help them make choices they won’t regret once the party is over.

  • Report suspected drunk drivers if you witness extremely erratic and dangerous driving that leads you to suspect a driver is drunk, don’t hesitate to call 911 and report them, even if it’s during the holidays. One phone call from you could prevent them from devastating injury or death to themselves or other innocent people.

Provide the vehicle description, location, license plate if possible, and direction they’re travelling in. The priorities are preventing an accident first and the driver facing consequences for their criminal behavior second.

  • Don’t overdo it yourself While enjoying the holidays with friends and family, make sure you don’t overindulge in alcoholic drinks yourself. Being able to legally drive doesn’t make you immune to alcohol impairment and the risks of getting behind the wheel.

Pace yourself, know your limits, use the planning tips above, or consider avoiding drinking alcohol completely if driving. Protect yourself and the Queens community by staying sober if you’ll be on the roads.

  • Stay alert on the roads During the bustling holiday season with people rushing around, you’ll need to keep your guard up as a driver even more. Watch for dangerous driving behaviors in other vehicles that could signal an impaired or distracted driver.
See also  7 Surprising Benefits To Hiring A Personal Injury Accident Attorney Firm

Leave plenty of distance between cars, make use of defensive driving techniques, and pull over if you observe severely reckless drivers until police can respond. Being extra vigilant could prevent an accident.

  • Don’t drive drowsy Along with drunk driving, drowsy driving similarly causes thousands of fatal crashes every winter holiday. Don’t underestimate the risks of driving while extremely tired, no matter the occasion. If you feel yourself nodding off, let a more alert passenger drive or pull over somewhere safe to rest.
  • Lean on your Queens car accident lawyer If the preventative measures fail and a drunk or otherwise impaired driver crashes into your vehicle in Queens, you’ll need an experienced attorney on your side. As your borough’s car accident lawyer for over a decade, my team can handle your injury claim so you can focus on recovery and enjoying the holidays. We’re here for you.

Staying Informed and Staying Safe

I hope this gives you a helpful overview of ways we can work together as a community these next few weeks to reduce drunk and otherwise dangerous driving. Through smart planning, looking out for each other, and safely navigating the busy roads this holiday season in Queens, we can strive to prevent needless tragedy. As your local car accident lawyer, my team and I urge all borough drivers to put safety first so we can all happily celebrate the holidays without the burden of irresponsible choices leading to injury and hardship. Please don’t drink and drive, stay alert, and follow the guidance above. Here’s to a safe, responsible, and happy holiday season on the roads for all.

How can I politely refuse to ride with someone I think is impaired or intoxicated?

The holidays are about showing care for loved ones. If a friend or family member gets behind the wheel after drinking too much, speak up kindly by saying you’re concerned for their safety and others on the road. Offer to call them a rideshare, have them sleep over, or volunteer to drive their car home yourself. Make it clear you’re not judging them, but want to prevent an accident. The next day, suggest you help research ridesharing options or be their designated driver for upcoming gatherings.

See also  Selecting a Criminal Defense Attorney

What should I do if my holiday party guest has too much to drink?

As the host, you have an ethical obligation not to allow intoxicated guests drive home drunk. Well before the event, discreetly ask 1-2 reliable guests to remain sober and possibly drive others home if needed. During the party, stop serving alcohol to anyone visibly drunk and switch to coffee, food and water. Call an Uber/Lyft for them or ask your pre-arranged drivers to take them home safely. You want happy memories, not tragedy and guilt over a drunk driving crash. Monitor all departures – better to pay for a few rides or allow sleepovers than risk lives.

How do I get home safely after a holiday happy hour or party?

Before enjoying holiday parties where you’ll drink, research safe transportation options nearby and plan/budget accordingly. Most bars, restaurants and venues are near rideshare pickup points, public transit or hotels where you could get a room. Set up Uber/Lyft accounts with saved payment methods for easy access when needed. Travel light so you don’t risk driving while impaired. Let friends/family know your plan for getting home safely in advance so they can check on you. Avoid parking remotely where you’d need to drive drunk to retrieve your car – leave it until you’re fully sober.

What legal consequences can I face for drunk driving during the holidays?

In addition to devastating injury or loss of innocent life, drunk driving arrests and convictions carry severe legal and financial penalties that could damage your holidays and entire future. A DUI conviction stays on your record for 10 years minimum and costs over $10,000 in legal fees, fines, classes and insurance hikes – more if you caused an injury accident. You may serve jail time, lose driving privileges, and greatly limit job prospects and international travel with a criminal record. And if someone dies due to your actions, you could face homicide charges. It simply isn’t worth the utterly preventable risk.

How can I safely manage holiday depression without alcohol?

Holiday depression stemming from grief, stress, isolation or other mental health issues can make some turn dangerously to alcohol. Seek counseling or a local support group instead to develop healthy coping skills. Find social interaction/activities, volunteer to help others, exercise, or pick up a new hobby. Stay busy but allow needed rest too. Use meditation, yoga, therapy animals or aromatherapy for emotional relief. Communicate your feelings with trusted friends/family. Avoid extended isolation and set reasonable goals/expectations. With professional help or wise lifestyle choices, the holidays can still be meaningful and bright.