More people are dying in alcohol-related car crashes in N.J.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Drunken driving fatalities in New Jersey are rising. In 2016, 137 people died from alcohol-related crashes, 27% higher than in 2015 (108 fatalities). That was the fourth largest state drunken driving fatality growth rate in the United States, behind Alaska, Iowa and Vermont. Overall, 601 people died in car crashes in New Jersey in 2016, 7.1% higher than in 2015.

Numerous efforts have been made to reduce drunken driving fatalities in the Garden State and the country at large. However, millions of drunk drivers still went behind the wheel in 2016 and according to the Center for Disease Control, approximately one in three traffic fatalities involves a drunk driver.

With such high incidences of drunk driving in the country, keeping yourself and your family safe while on the road is paramount. Here are a couple of ways you can protect yourself from drunken driving-related accidents. If you were involved in or suffered injury from a drunken driving-related accident, consult a New Jersey car accident attorney to start a personal injury claim against the negligent driver.

How to Spot a Drunk Driver

Going into the holiday season, millions of Americans will be traveling on the roads. Unfortunately, some will do so while under the influence of alcohol. Knowing how to spot a drunk driver while you are driving is one way of ensuring you do not get involved in a drunken driving-related accident. Here are a couple of ways to spot a drunk driver:

  • Driving too closely. A driver who is not keeping enough distance between cars may be under the influence of alcohol. If the driver is tailgating another vehicle at unusually high speeds, the driver is most likely under the influence of alcohol.
  • Random braking. A driver who brakes suddenly and randomly may just be intoxicated. The driver may not even notice the constant braking but other road users will.
  • Poor control of the vehicle. A driver who is swerving, veering out of the lane, straddling a line, weaving, going left of center or just driving recklessly could be impaired.
  • Turning too widely. Trucks require a lot of space to negotiate a turn but when an SUV makes an unusually wide turn, the driver may be impaired.
  • Responding slowly. A driver who takes time to respond to traffic lights or changes in the road environment may be impaired.
  • Dangerous driving. A driver driving without headlights at night, turning without signaling other road users, making illegal turns or even driving too close to fixed objects is probably impaired.

If you suspect a driver is impaired, do not drive too close to the vehicle; keep a safe distance. Do not also attempt to pass it or stop it. The advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving also recommends that you do not engage the drunk driver because this may cause and accident. It would be better to take a good look at the car, then pull over and make a call to local authorities.

If you or someone you know suffered injury as a result of a drunken driving-related accident, you have a legal cause of action against the negligent and reckless driver and can pursue a court award for damages for all the injuries you have suffered. Contact the New Jersey car accident lawyers at Nagel Rice, LLP today to pursue compensation for your injuries.