KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

5 Ways To Protect Yourself and Your Family From Drunk Drivers

drunk driving accidents

Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in every state of the country, yet that doesn’t deter thousands from engaging in the behavior on a daily basis. In Texas, specifically, well over 1,000 people lost their lives due to drunk driving in 2022 alone.

It makes sense to wonder, then, what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from drunk drivers. Continue reading this article to learn more about why drunk driving is such a severe problem and five important steps you can take to stay safe.

Drunk Driving Is a Serious Concern

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published some harrowing statistics regarding drunk driving:

  • Each day, around 37 people in the United States die in drunk-driving collisions, on average

  • In 2021, 13,384 lives were lost across the country due to drunk driving

  • This statistic for 2021 represents a 14% increase over the previous year

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has made available the following facts that are pertinent to the issue:

  • The estimated cost of drunk driving crash deaths in 2020 was around $123 billion nationwide

  • The majority of the people who died in these accidents in 2020, around 62%, were the drunk drivers themselves

  • The estimated number of people who drove drunk in 2020 was 18.5 million

There isn’t one state in the country that is immune from this problem, but some have it worse than others. For example, based on a study from Forbes Advisor, Texas currently ranks as the third-worst state in terms of drunk driving prevalence.

5 Things You Can Do To Protect Your Family

The data are clear: drunk driving is a major problem that needs to be taken seriously. With that in mind, here are 5 steps you should consider taking to keep yourself and your family as safe as possible.

Always Drive Sober

This first point goes without saying, but it’s worth mentioning regardless. Whenever you get behind the wheel, you should be completely sober. Even if you’ve only had one or two drinks, it’s still unsafe to drive – and it’s simply not worth the risk.

The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to plan ahead. If you know that you’ll be leaving the house to consume alcohol, either utilize a rideshare service or have a “designated driver” who will stay sober throughout the night.

Limit Nighttime Driving

Of course, driving sober yourself doesn’t mean that others will follow suit. One step you can take to reduce your risk of being involved in a drunk driving crash is to limit your nighttime driving.

According to data from MoneyGeek, most drunk driving accidents take place on the weekends, and a significant portion takes place after midnight. This makes sense, considering these are the most popular times that people go out and drink. 

Wear a Seatbelt

Wearing a seatbelt is essentially always a good idea, and it can go a long way toward remaining safe on the road – even in the event of a drunk driving accident.

The CDC notes that wearing a seatbelt can reduce the risk of dying or being seriously injured in a crash by around 50%. This is true regardless of whether you are a driver or passenger in the front/rear seats. 

Don’t Drive Distracted

Distracted driving is another serious problem on today’s roadways, causing over 3,000 deaths in 2021 alone, according to the NHTSA. If you’re distracted, you’re less likely to notice your surroundings and potential drunk drivers – possibly raising the risk of an accident.

This issue has become more troublesome since the rise of handheld electronic devices, such as cell phones. There are three primary categories of distracted driving: manual, cognitive, and visual. Using a cell phone while driving constitutes all three of these.

Drive Defensively

One of the first things you may have been taught while learning how to operate an automobile is to drive defensively, and it applies in the context of drunk driving as well as anything. There are many components to driving defensively, many of which require you to utilize your best judgment and common sense based on the current conditions.

For example, always be sure to obey the posted speed limit, and err on the side of caution when it comes to yellow lights at intersections. If someone is “tailgating” you, try to make a lane change when it is safe to do so and let them pass. And, as another tip, ensure that you’re aware of your surroundings and the upcoming traffic as best you can at all times.

What You Can Do After a Drunk Driving Accident

Despite state and national efforts to curb the behavior, drunk driving still occurs far too often (specifically in the State of Texas) – as do the resulting accidents. If someone causes a car accident because they were driving under the influence, know that you may be able to file a legal claim against them to compensate you for your financial losses as well as your pain and suffering. Contact a car accident lawyer with experience handling DUI cases to learn about your best course of action.