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The holiday season brings increased drunk driving risk

Everyone knows that the holiday season is a time of family get-togethers and office parties. Regardless of your religious background or your marital status, the chances are good that you participate in at least some form of holiday celebration.

Spending time with family, enjoying special meals and giving gifts are all common ways for people to celebrate the holidays. At many celebrations and family gatherings, alcohol will flow liberally to help set the festive mood. Unfortunately, all of that alcohol consumption combined with days away from work and school can drastically increase the risk of drunk driving accidents around the holiday season.

Statistics show an annual jump in traffic deaths

With so many people headed out to visit loved ones during the holidays, it is not surprising that the number of crashes, in general, increases during the holiday season. However, federal agencies that track safety statistics also note a marked increase in drunk driving crashes, specifically during the holiday season.

Many factors contribute to people getting behind the wheel after drinking during the holidays. The stress of dealing with family members or the financial strain that comes from gift-giving and hosting holiday parties sometimes pushes people to overindulge as a way of compensating for their emotional unhappiness.

Other times, people don't mean to overindulge, but they have a glass of eggnog before the meal, a glass of wine with the meal and then perhaps share a sweet dessert wine after helping put the dishes in the dishwasher. When it's time to head home, their blood alcohol content may be higher than they realize, making them a danger on the road.

Take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from drunk holiday driving

Sadly, short of refusing to get on the roads for the days before and after the holidays, as well as the weekends that fall before and after the major holidays, there is no way for you to eliminate the risk that drunk drivers cause during the holiday season.

Still, you can make certain decisions that can mitigate some of the overall risk. Avoiding the roads late at night both on holidays and on the weekends before and after the holidays can help you avoid the most dangerous times on the road. Choosing not to attempt driving when you know you feel tired and keeping a close eye on the behavior of other drivers and also reduce the amount of risk you incur on the road.

If a drunk driver does cause a crash that impacts you or your family, you should familiarize yourself with your right to take civil action against the driver for any verifiable financial losses. Your right to seek damages exists separate from the power of the government to prosecute the other driver for getting behind the wheel while drunk.

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DelVecchio & Miller, LLC

DelVecchio & Miller, LLC
1300 5th Ave., Suite 2
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-228-4541
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