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If You Feel Different, You Drive Different: Halloween Road Safety

Oct 26th, 2023

If You Feel Different, You Drive Different

Halloween focuses on a celebration of the spooky and scary–mostly in fun–but statistically speaking, Halloween night does carry some real dangers for those who aren’t mindful. One particular risk is the increase in drunk and drugged driving on or around Halloween. Studies have shown that the risk of pedestrian fatalities increases by 43 percent on Halloween, with the most dangerous window being between 5-9 p.m.–and impaired driving is a substantial contributing factor to this number. For this reason, the NHTSA has launched an awareness campaign for Halloween driving safety with the slogan, “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different.”  

This campaign goes beyond just drunk driving. It addresses the effects of any substance that impairs, be it prescription medication, marijuana, or illicit drugs. This year, in particular, the NHTSA has placed an increased emphasis on avoiding drugged driving (not just drunk driving). This is because marijuana is now legal for recreational use across many states.  

The Dangers of Impaired Driving 

The use of alcohol or drugs can significantly impair your ability to drive safely. Both substances interfere with the brain’s function, affecting your motor skills, reducing reaction times, and impairing decision-making abilities. Alcohol, for instance, slows down the processing of information from the eyes, ears, and other senses. It delays reaction time and impairs judgment. Drugs, including prescription and recreational ones, can have similar, if not more severe, effects. They can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and even hallucinations. All these factors combined can make it difficult for drivers to stay in their lanes, judge distances accurately, and respond appropriately to sudden changes on the road. This can lead to severe consequences, including accidents, injuries, and fatalities. 

A Few Key Reminders 

If you’ll be celebrating on or around Halloween, here are some essential things to remember before deciding to get behind the wheel: 

  • Drug-impaired driving is illegal in every state. Although it is more difficult to measure the amount of drugs in one’s system compared to alcohol, the police can arrest you on suspicion of DUI if they suspect drugs have impaired your performance. 
  • You can be charged with impaired driving even if the drugs were legal (or legally prescribed). It’s against the law to drive after taking any drug that can impair your judgment or motor skills, regardless of whether it’s legal. 
  • If you feel the least bit impaired, you probably are. (Hence the phrase, “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different.” 

 Additional Halloween Driving Safety Tips 

  • Slow Down: Residential areas will be bustling with trick-or-treaters. Reduce your speed and stay vigilant, especially during “trick-or-treating” hours. 
  • Stay Alert: Pay extra attention at intersections and be aware of your surroundings. 
  • Turn on Your Headlights: Make your vehicle is visible to pedestrians. 
  • Eliminate Distractions: Turn off your phone and loud music. Keep your full attention on the road. 
  • Designate a Sober Driver: If you plan to consume alcohol or any other substance that could impair your driving, plan ahead for a designated driver. 

Have you or someone you love been injured in an accident caused by someone’s drug or alcohol impairment? Our experienced attorneys can work to help you recover your losses with a personal injury claim. Call our offices to learn more.