Drunk driving accidents still cause around 10,000 fatalities each year, despite decades of education on the dangers of drunk driving. One such crash occurred recently in West Virginia. WDBJ7 reported on the accident, which occurred on Interstate 81.
The collision happened when a 23-year-old man hit a tractor-trailer before spinning out of control. A multi-car pileup resulted, which involved two different tractor trailers and 14 other vehicles. A 24-year-old motorist died at the scene of the crash, and at least a dozen other people were injured. The 23-year-old who hit the tractor-trailer that started the chain reaction was charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance and with a DUI causing death.
Unfortunately, when car accidents involving drunk drivers occur, they are often fatal. There is a high risk of death in these types of crashes for many reasons, including the fact that the impaired drivers may not slow down before their car strikes others, which means the impact and momentum of the crash is greater. Regardless of why drunk driving crashes are so deadly, the key is for every motorist to take the necessary steps to try to avoid becoming involved in an impaired driving accident.
Drivers cannot ever protect themselves 100 percent against impaired driving crashes. This is because you cannot control whether another motorist who is drunk on the road will strike your vehicle. A few things you can do to try to reduce the risk of being hurt by an intoxicated driver include:
- Driving assertively. Look carefully at what all vehicles ahead of you and around you are doing. Never assume a driver will obey the rules and stop for a stop sign or a red light. Make sure you see what drivers are doing and take defensive action if someone isn’t obeying the rules of the road.
- Reporting suspected drunk drivers. If you see a driver on the road who is swerving his vehicle or who looks suspicious, stay away from the car. Call the police to report the driver when you can safely do so. Try to give the police the details they would need to find and investigate, like the license plate or the make and model of the vehicle. Describe where you saw the suspected drunk driver and what behavior made you think the person was impaired.
- Be aware of high risk times and high risk areas. Some days of the year are much more dangerous than others when it comes to impaired drivers being on the roads. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Super Bowl Sunday, and Labor Day are all times when there is an elevated DUI car accident risk. If you know there are likely to be more impaired drivers on the road, you can be more cautious and try to avoid areas around bars and nightlife locations where there is a greater chance of running into someone who is impaired.
Of course, every driver should also make a commitment to stay sober so they do not contribute to the problem of drunk driving car accidents.