Published on July 31, 2015
Drunk driving is one of the main causes of car accidents in South Florida. Teachers, parents, and the law have been hammering this idea into our heads since long before we ever got a learner’s permit, yet for some reason many of us continue to drive drunk, tipsy and buzzed. DUI cases lead to 28.1% of Florida’s 2100 traffic deaths in 2014. Florida made over 40,000 drunk driving arrests in 2014, and those are only the people who got caught. What does this say about how much respect we have for the danger?
How Dangerous is Alcohol When You’re Driving?
A common excuse for drunk drivers is that they didn’t realize that they were over the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit; however we’d like to note that driving with alcohol in your system is already a very bad idea long before you reach the legal limit. Florida law states that non-commercial drivers aren’t legally liable until they’re at a BAC of .08, but at a BAC level of .05 you’ll already be badly impaired in a number of ways:
- Vision – You’ll have a harder time seeing or tracking moving objects, which can prevent you from noticing a dangerous situation on the road. This is even worse if you’re driving at night.
- Reaction Time – Once you’ve recognized a dangerous situation you’ll react significantly more slowly than you would if you were sober.
- Information Processing – When you see something it’ll take longer for you to understand what you’re seeing and what you should do about it.
- Coordination – You’re more likely to fumble and overcorrect, step on the gas instead of the brake, or stall your engine.
Remember, all of this is well before you’re even legally too drunk to drive. Once you reach the legal limit you’ll be severely impaired, regardless of how you personally feel. To be a responsible driver it’s best to wait until you’re stone cold sober before you get behind the wheel rather than just waiting until you think you’re “probably fine”.
How Can I recognize If Another Driver is Impaired?
As responsible drivers we have a responsibility to recognize and put a stop to impaired drivers that we see on the road. To do that, we need to be able to read the signs and recognize when someone else on the road is impaired. Here are a few things to watch out for:
- Swerving – The most classic sign of a drunk driver is someone who keeps swerving in and out of their lane or just can’t drive in a straight line.
- Aggressive Driving – Impaired judgment leads some drunk drivers to behave aggressively, driving very fast, tailgating, and running red lights and stop signs.
- Random Signaling – In popular culture we like to poke fun at elderly drivers for leaving the blinkers on while they’re driving down the road, but usually you’ll find a drunk driver behind the wheel.
- Slow Response To Traffic Signals – Someone who appears to brake late and not notice when the light turns green could be drunk.
- Off-roading – Anyone who’s not where they’re supposed to be on the road, whether that be on the sidewalk, in the opposing lane, or driving over someone’s lawn is probably severely impaired.
Drunk driving is a major and very preventable cause of accidental deaths in the US and in Florida. We can do better. If someone you love has been injured please give us a call so that we can put you in touch with local medical centers and an experienced car accident lawyer to help you get the help you deserve.
Category: Car Accidents