Many people rightly assume that most drunk driving accidents occur in the late night or early morning hours. After all, that’s the time that the bars close and spill out all their inebriated patrons who then must weave their way home.

But around the holidays, that rubric does not necessarily apply. People tend to drink more now, and often earlier in the day. Consider the typical office party, where liquor may start flowing during the daylight hours and workers wind up tipsy for their evening drive back home. That can prove to be a deadly hazard for the sober drivers on the road.

Concerning statistics

It’s estimated that during the holiday season here in the United States, as many as 1,200 individuals will lose their lives in alcohol-related auto accidents. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 52 percent of the fatal wrecks that happen on Christmas Day, along with 57 percent on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, are attributed to alcohol consumption.

To that end, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that there will be approximately 25,000 injuries resulting from intoxicated driving during the winter holiday season.

Shoppers, be alert for drunk drivers

Shopping when the kids are busy with homework or afterschool activities during the early evening hours is popular with parents who don’t want to divulge Santa’s gifts before the big day. But as you are jockeying for position to get off the interstate and onto the off-ramp headed to the mall or big box store, watch out for indications that another motorist may be dangerously impaired.

Riding the brakes, weaving in and out of traffic lanes and straying over the center line are all signs that a driver may be drunk or otherwise impaired by drugs. Your best bet in such situations is to keep a wide berth between you and a suspected intoxicated driver.

If you can do so safely, memorize the license plate and make and model of the potential offender’s vehicle. Then, when you arrive safely at your destination, you may want to notify law enforcement of the danger you witnessed.

Keep you and your family safe

Avoiding an accident is always better than dealing with its consequences, which can be severe and life-altering. This holiday season, keep your family safe by obeying traffic laws, using car seats for the kids and insisting that the car doesn’t start until all occupants are wearing seatbelts.

If an accident does befall you and your family, if a negligent or impaired driver was at fault, you may be able to recover damages by filing a claim.