How to avoid drunk driving accidents on Virginia roads

By knowing the signs that drivers are under the influence, motorists may avoid alcohol-related collisions and the resulting injuries or deaths.

Although most people in Virginia, and throughout the U.S., are aware of the dangers, some still choose to drink and drive. As a result, alcohol-related collisions are all too common. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 10,000 people died in drunk driving accidents in 2013. While avoiding drinking and driving is one way for motorists to help prevent such collisions, it does not guarantee that others have done the same. By knowing the signs that another driver may be under the influence, however, it may help motorists avoid them on the road.

Why is drunk driving dangerous?

Driving after consuming alcoholic beverages is dangerous, in large part, because of the effects that alcohol has on the body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol may cause drivers to suffer slowed reaction times, decreased coordination and muscle control, vision impairments, reduced information processing capabilities and impaired judgment. Alone or combined, these effects can make it difficult for drivers to safely operate their motor vehicles. As a result, they may cause auto accidents, which may result in broken bones, head trauma and other serious injuries for them, other drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

Indicators of drunk driving

There can be a number of signs that a driver may be intoxicated. The Mothers Against Drunk Driving website points out that some of the most common indicators that a driver is drunk include the following:

  • Unpredictable or unnecessary braking
  • Weaving and swerving across the road
  • Making wide, abrupt or illegal turns
  • Delayed responses to traffic signals and road signs
  • Driving well under the posted speed limit or at high rates of speed
  • Almost hitting, or actually colliding with, curbs, vehicles or other objects on the road

Furthermore, if motorists drive in areas that are not designated for vehicles or cross over centerlines into oncoming traffic, it may indicate that they are intoxicated. Sometimes, drivers who are under the influence may forget to turn on their headlights at night. As such, seeing a vehicle on the road at night without its headlights on may be a sign that the driver is under the influence. Additionally, using their signals in a way that is inconsistent with their driving actions is also common among alcohol-impaired motorists.

Seeking legal counsel

Even if motorists take care to avoid drunk drivers on Virginia roads, they may still be involved in alcohol-related collisions. When such accidents result in injuries, those hurt often require medical treatment and time off of work to recover. This may lead to undue medical expenses and lost wages for which the drunk driver who caused the crash may be held liable. As such, those who have experienced situations such as this may benefit from working with an attorney. A legal representative may help them understand their options for seeking financial compensation.