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Drunk Driving & Car Accidents - Protect Yourself And Others From Drunk Driving Accidents

By Marya Sieminski

Drinking alcohol and driving a car is a deadly combination.

The danger is clear:

  • In the United States, someone is killed in an alcohol-related motor vehicle crash every 30 minutes.
  • Four out of every ten fatal car accidents involve alcohol, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration.
  • Nearly 17,000 Americans died in alcohol-related automobile crashes in 2004.

The Dangerous Effects of Alcohol on Automobile Drivers

The fact is that anyone who has been drinking should not get behind the wheel of a car. Driving a car requires concentration, coordination, ability to judge distance and speed, common sense, and a concern for the safety of everyone on the road. Alcohol can impair these basic skills that are necessary to operate an automobile safely.

Every type of alcohol affects a persons ability to drive a car. The same amount of alcohol - and the same potential for impairment or intoxication - results from any of these drinks:

  • 12 ounce can of beer
  • 5 ounce glass of wine
  • 1.5 ounce shot of whiskey.

Some people mistakenly believe that coffee, a cold shower, exercise, or fresh air can sober them up. This is not true. The only thing that sobers you up is time.

The Risks of Driving a Car While Using Drugs

Drugs and medications can be as dangerous as alcohol when mixed with driving. Illegal drugs are particularly risky, because users cannot be sure of the contents, purity, or possible effects of these substances. Prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines can also hurt your ability to drive safely. Some cold remedies, allergy medicines, tranquilizers, and pain relievers may cause drowsiness. Diet pills and "stay awake" drugs may cause excitability or drowsiness.

Individuals have different reactions to the same drug, depending on physical condition. Combinations of drugs, or drugs with alcohol, can have unexpected effects.

Protect Yourself and Others from Drunk Driving Accidents

Never drink and drive an automobile.

If you plan on drinking, select a designated driver ahead of time who is not going to drink. Otherwise, ask someone for a ride, call a taxi, take a bus, or seek other assistance. In short, do whatever you need to do to avoid getting behind the wheel of a car if your driving may be impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Be a good friend, if someone you know has been drinking or using drugs. Do not let him or her try to operate an automobile. If necessary, take away the person's car keys. Help your friend find a safe ride home or a place to sleep.

Never ride with anyone who has been drinking or using drugs. Be sure a driver is completely sober before you get into the car.

Recognizing Drunk Drivers on the Highway

At times, it is possible to recognize drivers who may have been drinking or using drugs. Stay alert, and watch for signs of a drunk driver. They may:

  • Weave within the traffic lane.
  • Wander from one lane to another.
  • Run off the pavement.
  • Stop too quickly or slowly.
  • Drive too quickly or slowly.
  • Go through stop signs or other signals.
  • Drive on the wrong side of the road.

These signs do not always mean that the driver of the car is intoxicated, but they do require your full attention. When you are on the road near a potential drunk driver, put as much distance as possible between your car and that person's vehicle. If you are behind the vehicle, think twice about trying to pass. If you are ahead of that car, leave space for the drunk driver to pass you. Stay alert, because you may encounter the same car further down the road.

If possible, report the dangerous situation to the police. Call 911 and give the emergency operator a description and license plate number of the drunk driver's car, and the location of the vehicle.

Attorney Marya Sieminski joined the Law Offices of Sam Bernstein in 2003. She is admitted to practice law in Michigan state courts and in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated magna cum laude from Wayne State University Law School. Marya has worked as a trial lawyer for 10 years and exclusively represented victims in personal injury litigation and in workers compensation claims. She also was appointed by the Governor to serve on the State of Michigan Workers Compensation Qualifications Advisory Committee.

The Law Offices of Samuel I. Bernstein, our Michigan auto accident and personal injury law firm, has championed the cause of seriously injured Michigan auto accident victims for three generations.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Marya_Sieminski

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