Holiday Driving

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Close up of spilled pills on a street with a stopped car behind it. Image by Airman First Class Areca T. Wilson.
By Airman First Class Areca T. Wilson

Too Much Good Cheer

For many people, the holiday season isn’t just for family celebrations, religious observances, and home-cooked meals. Heavy drinking and drug use are often intertwined with the usual festivities. Parties at work, with friends, or at family dinners sometimes offer a little too much “good cheer.” Unfortunately, not everyone thinks to designate a sober driver for the trip home. And once people have started indulging, their judgment is already compromised, and they may decide they’re perfectly fine to drive home when they really aren’t.

So what do you do if one of those drivers veers into your lane on the way home from your celebration?

Stay Calm

Car accidents are sudden and can be terrifying, but keeping as calm as possible will help you think clearly.

Stay on the Scene

Do not leave the scene unless staying there compromises your safety. Check any passengers in your car to determine if they are safe and breathing.

Call 911

Report the accident immediately. Let the dispatcher know if you or any of your passengers are injured.

Assist Others

Help any other drivers or passengers who are injured if you are able to. But avoid belligerent drunk drivers or passengers who threaten your well being. Document this behavior in the safest way possible.

Take Photos, Videos, and Notes

Take photos and/or videos of the scene. Include images of the whole area, weather and road conditions, road signs, any obstructions that impact visibility, construction sites, etc. Take pictures of the vehicles, where they were damaged, and any obvious injuries to you or your passengers. Some injuries are undetectable at first. Document descriptions of non-visual information, such as pain, confusion, disorientation, drowsiness, or dizziness.

Find Witnesses

Actively search for anyone who may have seen the accident, and do your best to get their contact information and a description of what they saw. Police may not talk to all witnesses and may not include any witness testimonies in their report.

Save Medical and Auto Bills

Hold on to all bills for medical treatments and car repairs related to the accident. Prescription drugs, medical devices and supplies, and even transportation to and from doctors appointments are all compensable.

Keep an Accident Journal

Keep a journal of your appointments with doctors, medical specialists such as chiropractors, and the instructions you’ve received for rehabilitation. Note your progress during healing, how your injuries have slowed you down or prevented you from earning income.

Attend Court Hearings and Trials

Attend all court proceedings for the drunk driver—both traffic and criminal courts. The evidence you provide is critical.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner you’ll be compensated for vehicle repairs, medical bills, and the impact of your pain and suffering.

If someone’s decision to overindulge during the holidays outweighed your safety and the safety of your passengers, don’t hesitate to file your claim for justice. You owe it to yourself, and you owe it to others who may drive with that person in the future. Making sure your drunk driver pays makes the roads safer for everyone. Call 301-589-4597 or email me at ds@dsteinlaw.com for the compensation you deserve, and safer roads for us all.