Drunk driving is a year-round risk, but driving under the influence (DUI) accident statistics consistently increase around the holidays. Over the last five years, an average of 300 people per year lost their lives in drunk driving accidents in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Drunk drivers are rampant around the holidays, endangering the lives of everyone around them.
This holiday season, our Kansas City car accident lawyers want you to keep yourself safe by knowing what to do if you spot a drunk driver.
The first step in dealing with a drunk driver is knowing how to spot one. Drunk drivers often cannot maintain control of their vehicles. They may swerve in and out of lanes, make unsafe lane changes, drive without headlights, or speed up and brake erratically. They may also overcompensate for their intoxication by driving at speeds much slower than the posted limit, or driving with their faces too close to the windshield. If you notice any erratic driving, drifting, or slow responses to traffic signals, it could be a drunk driver.
If you believe you are near a drunk driver in Kansas City, protect yourself from harm by keeping a safe distance from the individual. Do not try to pull up next to the driver or to stop the vehicle, as this could cause an accident. Stay at least one car’s length away while you call the authorities. This will give the drunk driver enough room to drift between lanes, brake, or otherwise drive erratically without the risk of colliding with you. Pull over to make your phone call if you need to, after making sure you have the driver’s information.
Dial 911 and explain that you wish to report a suspected drunk driver. The operator will walk you through the steps of reporting. Generally, the police will need details such as the location of the drunk driver, a description of the vehicle (make and model), the vehicle’s license plate number, and what the driver is doing. You can remain anonymous during your call if you wish. Explain why you suspect intoxication, and tell the police what direction the vehicle is heading or where you last saw the driver. Police will dispatch an officer to apprehend the suspected drunk driver.
Leave policing to the Kansas City police department. Do not try to stop the driver, apprehend him/her, or confront the driver. You could contribute to a car accident and may even face partial liability for damages. Intoxicated drivers may also be violent or aggressive, putting you at risk of criminal activity such as assault. It is always best to keep your distance and report a drunk driver from afar. Then, you can stay safe while trained police officers deal with the situation.
If a drunk driver hits your vehicle, stay calm and call 911. Remain at the scene of the accident and check yourself and others for injuries. Request an ambulance if necessary. Document your accident if you are able. Move to a safe location and gather the drunk driver’s information. Take photographs of both vehicles, any injuries, and the other driver. Take a video of the drunk driver if he or she gives you permission. Call the police and wait on the scene until they arrive. Explain your suspicions of intoxication to the police.
Seek immediate medical care if you suffered injuries in the DUI accident. Once you are on the mend, call a Kansas City personal injury attorney for further direction. Contacting a lawyer before an insurance company can help you protect your rights and prevent an insurer from taking advantage of you. A Kansas City DUI accident attorney can help you obtain fair compensation for your encounter with a drunk driver this holiday season.