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When Are You Most Likely to Encounter a Drunk Driver?

person driving at night while holding a beer

It is never acceptable to drive while under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to notice road hazards, react in a timely manner, and make good decisions. Drunk drivers are far more likely to cause accidents than those that are sober behind the wheel, and they cause approximately one-third of total accident fatalities.

There is no state in which it is legal to drive drunk. A driver is considered drunk when they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. Although criminal penalties exist for those who choose to drive drunk, those consequences often only surface after they have caused a serious or even fatal accident.

If you are worried about drunk driving accidents, you might be wondering, “When am I most likely to encounter a drunk driver?” The lawyers from Buckingham & Vega Law Firm can answer that question.

The Time of the Day With the Most Drunk Drivers

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of drunk drivers involved in fatal car accidents is four times higher during the night than during daytime hours, a difference of 35% versus 9%.

There is also a difference in the number of fatal drunk driving accidents between weekdays and weekends. Drunk drivers are involved in 30% of fatal collisions on the weekend, compared with only 15% during weekdays.

You are much more likely to encounter a drunk driver at nighttime during the weekend than you are during the day in the middle of the week. This does not mean you are completely safe while driving at noon on a Wednesday, however. Although the risk may be lower, it is not non-existent. You can encounter a drunk driver at any time of the day on any day of the week.

The Season With the Most Drunk Drivers

The summer road trip is a time-honored tradition for many people in Texas. Whether you’re heading to Corpus Christi to enjoy the beach or driving farther north to escape some of the summer heat, you have a high chance of encountering a drunk driver if you’re spending any time at all on the road.

The months of June, July, and August see the most drunk drivers out of the entire year. Here is the breakdown for drunk driving fatalities per season in 2021:

  • Summer – 28.52%
  • Spring – 26.33%
  • Fall – 23.82%
  • Winter – 21.34%

If you plan on taking a road trip during the summer, plan your driving itinerary around weekdays and daytime hours to minimize your risk of being involved in a drunk driving accident. Exercise caution if you have no choice but to travel at night and on the weekends.

The Holidays With the Most Drunk Drivers

While everyone celebrates holidays a little differently, many are marked by the presence of loved ones, food, music, and alcohol. Although anyone who plans to drink at a holiday celebration should have a plan to get home safely (such as a designated driver) or plan to stay the night where they are, many get behind the wheel without a second thought.

This makes holidays a particularly dangerous time to drive. The top five most dangerous holidays based on an increased risk of drunk driving accidents and fatalities are:

  • New Year’s Day – 129% higher risk than average
  • July 4th – 100% higher risk than average
  • Thanksgiving – 77% higher risk than average
  • Labor Day – 61% higher risk than average
  • Memorial Day – 54% higher risk than average

If you plan to drive on a holiday, be prepared to keep yourself and others safe by taking a few precautions:

  • Choose a designated driver. Whether you’re going out with friends or visiting a relative’s home, you should choose a designated driver who will not be drinking. The designated driver is responsible for driving anyone who has been drinking home safely.
  • Create a plan for getting home safely. If everyone in your group is planning on drinking without a designated driver, create a plan for how you will get home. Know who you plan on calling for a ride or what rideshare app you will use. If using a rideshare app, be sure to create an account and have everything set up before heading out for the night.
  • Know where you’re staying. Consider staying the night if you’re drinking at a friend’s or a loved one’s house. This will eliminate the need for designated drivers or backup plans to get home safely and keep you off the road when there will be a higher-than-average number of drunk drivers.

How To Identify a Drunk Driver

You should always be alert and focused when you are behind the wheel. However, driving at night, on the weekend, during the summer, or on certain holidays requires an added layer of scrutiny. You should constantly be scanning the road ahead, beside you, and behind you to keep an eye out for potential drunk drivers.

There is no one correct way for you to identify drivers who might be under the influence of alcohol, but you should exercise caution if you encounter a driver who is:

  • Constantly drifting in and out of their lane
  • Driving abnormally slow or fast
  • Acting aggressively or tailgating
  • Braking unexpectedly or for no discernable reason
  • Narrowly avoiding collisions
  • Striking objects but then continuing to drive as if nothing is wrong

Do not intervene if you strongly suspect that a driver is under the influence of alcohol. Instead, keep a safe distance and call 911. Do your best to provide information about your location, the make and model of the automobile, and the vehicle’s license plate number.

What To Do if You’ve Been Hit by a Drunk Driver

Being hit by a drunk driver can be a debilitating experience. Drunk driving accidents are frequently severe, more often than not, due to the inhibition and slower reaction times associated with driving under the influence of alcohol.

At Buckingham & Vega Law Firm, we believe that every drunk driving accident victim deserves help on their path to recovery. When you contact us to schedule your free consultation, one of our experienced car accident attorneys will go over the details of your case and explain your options to pursue compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

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