This is a collaborative post by Brittany with tips on safe driving.
Even though social distancing recommendations have put a hold on several quintessential summer activities, many people will still gather for small backyard gatherings and scaled-down Independence Day celebrations.
Summer is a popular season to sit back and enjoy a cold beer with friends or blend up a batch of margaritas, but keep in mind that DUI arrests and accidents are also higher during the Fourth of July. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), July 4th is one of the deadliest days of the year for motorists.
Here are a few tips to ensure you stay safe and sober while behind the wheel this summer.
Tips to Stay Safe and Sober When Driving
Designate a Sober Driver
It’s not uncommon to go to an event or gathering where alcohol is served, think you’ll have “just one” drink, but end up drinking more than you intended, and you end up feeling “buzzed.” It’s important to remember that driving buzzed is potentially just as dangerous as driving drunk.
If you plan to have a few drinks, always designate a sober driver. A sober driver should be committed to not drinking at all. If your designated driver ends up drinking, don’t let them get behind the wheel.
Have a “Plan B” for Getting Home Safe
Maybe your designated driver falls through, or you simply drank more alcohol than you thought you would. Rather than increasing your risk of a DUI arrest or alcohol-related car accident, always have a backup plan.
Whether you live a few blocks away or just across town, don’t take the chance of driving impaired. There’s never a good excuse to drive while intoxicated with so many alternative transportation options, like rideshare, public transit, or even calling a friend for a ride.
Watch for Dangerous Drivers on the Road
As motorists, it’s our responsibility to use good judgment behind the wheel, follow the rules of the road, and stay focused on our driving. When you’re driving, it’s important to pay attention to how other motorists are driving, and if you notice someone driving carelessly, try to keep your distance.
Drivers who are fatigued, distracted, or even experience a medical emergency might drive as if they are intoxicated, so it can be difficult to determine if you are sharing the road with a drunk driver. Some signs that a driver might be drunk include:
- Driving the wrong way
- Swerving in and out of lanes
- Driving slow
- Getting close to striking objects like cars or other property
If you suspect that a motorist is driving while intoxicated, try to keep a safe distance while gathering as much info about the car as you can. Call 911 (be sure to follow state laws about using mobile devices while driving) and report the driver.
If you’re a pedestrian waiting to cross an intersection or walking near a road, it’s also important to keep an eye out for careless motorists. When you’re using a crosswalk, always make sure a vehicle has stopped for you and that you have made eye contact with the driver before you go into the crosswalk. Many fatal pedestrian accidents occur because the driver was not paying attention or was impaired.
When in Doubt, Stay Home
You don’t have to leave the house to have a good time. The best way to avoid a DUI or risk being involved in an alcohol-related accident is to stay home. Make your backyard a space you want to hang out in and host small gatherings.
Make a rule with your guests that they must all have a safe way to get home if they plan on drinking alcohol.
Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.