This holiday season, don't forget to keep one eye on safety as you make your plans. Not only will there be more chances for accidents on the road when travelers are busy commuting, there are likely to be more drunk drivers out there, too. The fact is that drinking and driving tends to be the cause of many accidents, especially around the holidays, and the risk is not limited to operating an automobile.
Intoxicated vehicle operation also affects people looking to enjoy their free time outdoors. According to Consumer Federation of America, over 300 fatal injuries have occurred so far in 2016, many of which involved alcohol. That's in addition to the roughly 600 deaths per year due to boating accidents. That makes it important to not only know the risks when operating these vehicles, but also to have conversations with younger operators about how to stay safe when they are on public property. That way, they can minimize their risks while they enjoy their holiday freedom.
What to do if you suspect another operator is intoxicated
Whether you are on land or out on the water, the best thing to do if you notice that there is someone operating a vehicle erratically is the same thing you would do in a car. Stay calm and try to give them a wide berth. You can only look out for yourself, and the closer you get to a potentially intoxicated operator, the better the chance that you will wind up involved in any mishaps that occur.
Progress and setbacks
While boating accidents have been down from 2010's numbers, the last couple of years have seen a slight uptick, and Consumer Affairs reported that the number of off-road deaths is up about 10 percent this year. This means that there is a rising trend toward risky behavior, and operating vehicles of any kind under the influence tends to be one of the riskier behaviors people engage in.
If you are involved in an accident
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident, make sure you follow through with the same steps you would when you get into a regular car accident:
- Assess those involved for injuries.
- Avoid moving injured parties until they have received medical attention.
- File a police report as soon as possible.
- Exchange insurance information as needed.
In the event of an injury, especially one caused by an intoxicated operator, you may also want to talk to an attorney to find out what, if any, damages you may be able to collect.