You could stay in bed, curl up with a good book and never venture onto the roads. But assuming you have to drive somewhere sometime – probably every day! – how can you protect yourself and your family against intoxicated and otherwise impaired drivers?
While no method is foolproof, these sensible tips could help save your life:
Maintain an extra-safe following distance (good advice when behind any driver). Resist the temptation to pass—the driver may not see you and suddenly swerve into your path.
Turn right at the first opportunity or get off the road and let the probably impatient driver pass. The driver may be speeding to an accident. Get out of the way!
Slow down and drive to the right. Get off the road – drive up a bank if you must. A bent axle is better than a bent leg.
Slow down and look both ways as you near the corner. Be ready to take action. In some situations, you can warn other drivers of a menace by flashing your headlights and blowing your horn. You can also be a good citizen by reporting a suspended impaired driver to the police as soon as possible. Your action may save lives.
All of us can do our part to keep impaired drivers off the road in the first place. Never let a friend who’s “had too much” get behind the wheel. Hide the car keys! Your alive friend will thank you in the morning.
Another positive step: Support well-known campaigns against drunk driving. Thanks to the efforts of M.A.D.D., the insurance industry, and others, fatalities due to impaired driving have dropped encouragingly in the past few years.
Despite precautions, though, not all encounters with impaired drivers can be avoided. So wear your safety belt! Most state laws require it. Statistics confirm that buckling up really does save lives.