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Trim the tree. Hang festive lights. Bake delicious treats. Pour the eggnog. The holiday season is upon us. Although celebrations with friends and family can make this a truly special time of year, drunk drivers can also make the holiday season the most hazardous time of year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are particularly dangerous on our nation’s roadways. The agency has launched an aggressive preholiday season drunk driving prevention program, designed to reduce the number of impaired drivers. —

Despite these efforts, some partygoers climb behind the wheel after a night of excessive drinking at bars, office parties or household dinners. A collision with one of these drunk drivers can transform a joyous occasion into a nightmare.

The criminal court is likely to order restitution if the drunk driver who injured you is convicted. However, the result is typically not enough money to cover the damages you have suffered. As the driver is being prosecuted in criminal court, consider your rights to damages through civil personal injury litigation as well:

These codes are especially important if the driver is uninsured or underinsured and cannot pay the amount of damages she or he has caused.

These statutes also highlight how you can help keep the roadways safe this holiday season. Avoid being the defendant in a dram shop or social host claim by taking responsibility for how much liquor you serve at your holiday party.

A Cleveland personal injury attorney can offer additional guidance and legal assistance.

Over the course of the year, we have written blogs to remind our clients and friends about the ramifications of driving while engaging in dangerous behavior like texting and talking as well as other forms of distracted driving. We have provided tips about safer parking, cycling and even safe walking.

The holiday season is a time of celebration, festivities and cheer. At the same time, Christmas ranks as one of the highest on the list of the most dangerous holidays, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg wishes all of our readers a safe and happy holiday season. With that in mind, here are some tips to help ensure your safety and that of your family, friends and fellow travelers.

1. Be on guard for dangerous drivers
The holidays are one of the most dangerous times to be on the road. People tend to drink more, stay out later and generally be more distracted by passengers and smartphones. They drive faster, make quick lane changes and don’t make adjustments for weather conditions. Stay alert for reckless drivers, slow down and allow plenty of time to get where you are going. Consider leaving earlier or later to avoid the busiest times on the road. Please read Distracted Driving Facts and Statistics to learn more about what distracted driving is and the devastating impact it can have on others. You can also visit our distracted driving and texting accident page on our website.

2. Make Sure You are Well Rested Before Driving
It’s not uncommon to be overwhelmed with increased demands over the holiday season. Something has to give and all too often it is the number of hours you sleep. According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, people who slept 6-7 hours a night were twice as likely to be involved in a crash as those sleeping 8 hours or more, while people sleeping less than 5 hours increased their risk four to five times. Ask someone who is rested to drive when you are feeling fatigued—you’ll reduce the chance of hurting yourself and others.

3. Be Prepared for Emergencies
Whether it’s perilous weather, an accident or automobile breakdown, be prepared for an emergency. Keep a car stocked car with blankets, water, flashlights and medical supplies. Keep a cell phone and charger with you at all times. Some motorist assistance services, like AAA, offer smartphone applications that enable motorists to request help without having to make a call.

4. Drinking and Driving
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), deaths from drinking and driving spike around the holidays, with alcohol being blamed for about 52 percent of fatal collisions on Christmas and 57 percent on New Year’s Eve compared to a rate of 41 percent for the entire year. There are more people traveling, an increased number of festivities where alcohol is served and a surge in drunk driving. Be prepared—plan a way to safely arrive home at the end of the night:

5. Keep Medications Out of Reach
According to a poll by the University of Michigan C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital, in the U.S., a child under the age of six is taken to an emergency room to be treated for a medicine poisoning every 10 minutes. Whether it’s traveling to stay with friends and family over the holidays or having guests in your own home, there’s a much greater chance that medications can be left within a child’s reach. Access to easy-to-open containers is more common in grandparents’ homes. Many medicines look and taste like candy; medicines like nicotine are delivered by chewing gum or Tic-Tac-like pellets. So look around the house to be sure medications are kept well out of reach of children.

With some advanced planning and smart thinking, you can great increase your safety so that you can enjoy the 2015 holiday season with your family and friends. We wish you an enjoyable holiday season!

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, speak to an auto accident lawyer at NRS right away. Our distracted driving accident attorneys have the experience you need to get the results you deserve and are entitled to by law. Call us toll-free at 1.855.GOT.HURT (1.855.468.4878) or contact us by filling out our No-Risk Consultation Form.

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