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Protect yourself from drunk drivers, before and after an accident

We're in the middle of the holidays, and people across Newark are enjoying time with their friends and family. For many, this means car trips at all times of the day and night as individuals shop, dine out and get together for parties and other events. More cars on the road means more chance of accidents, but another danger rides the road during the holiday season.

According to Mothers against Drunk Drivers, more than 50 percent of traffic-related fatalities on Jan. 1, 2012, were related to drunk driving incidents. Many people consider the dangers on the road on New Year's Eve, but throughout the early morning hours and the next day, intoxicated drivers are still hitting the road. Understanding how to protect yourself from such drivers is important.

First, enjoy your holiday and don't forego visiting with others, but don't joy ride for the sake of driving on the busiest of holiday days and evenings. Second, be aware of others on the road and know that there are drivers out there that shouldn't be behind the wheel. Finally, reduce the chance of accidents by meeting at a single location for holiday evenings and avoid driving to and from various homes and locations when possible.

Since you can't always avoid an incident, it's also important to understand your rights if you are involved in a holiday car accident. If the accident was caused by another driver, whether or not they were drinking, you might have a claim for compensation. While financial compensation doesn't protect you from damage and injury you've already experienced, it can help you recover after an accident.

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