Driving is a dangerous activity regardless of where you are — but the perils of driving increase exponentially when you’re in Alaska. And now that the fall season is in full swing and winter is creeping ever closer, Alaskans are preparing for dark commutes to work on ice-covered roads. Even small news sources are urging Alaskans to get ready for dangerous driving conditions.
And these are not empty warnings, despite many cities not yet receiving their first “real” snowfall of the winter season. Something as simple as leftover precipitation, being allowed to settle and freeze into ice overnight, can be just as dangerous for drivers as a heavy snowfall — and that’s exactly what happened on highways surrounding Fairbanks at the end of September.
There are many detailed preparations that drivers can take at this time, such as switching over to winter tires and exhibiting greater care on hills and in intersections, but there’s one preventative measure that all too many drivers fail to follow: and that is not drinking and driving.
Driving under the influence at any time of the year is never a good idea (and, therefore, illegal), but the risks of drinking and driving are even greater when winter weather conditions make it difficult for even the most careful drivers to stay safe. Data from 2009 shows that there were 261 vehicle crashes for every 100 million miles driven just in Alaska, and from these crashes, over 5,000 Alaskans were injured, and 64 were killed. Data from the early 2000s shows that more than eight people per 1,000 people in Alaska were arrested for DWI/DUI, but recent data doesn’t appear to show a significant decrease in vehicle fatalities involving alcohol.
Now more so than ever before, victims of car crashes involving alcohol are seeking help from personal injury lawyers — not necessarily because more crashes are happening, but because we have the data to prove that these types of accidents have been problematic for a long time and need to be stopped. We know that asking for personal injury compensation won’t completely remedy the situation at hand, especially if a crash caused fatal injuries, and no personal injury lawyer is able to promise with 100% certainty that a victim will be fairly compensated. But if more victims file personal injury claims when DWI/DUI crashes occur, they could very well be ensuring the safety of future drivers.
Sometimes car accidents just happen regardless of how careful the drivers are acting, and Alaskans should be aware that the potential risks of driving will increase during the winter. But when a crash occurs and it could have easily been prevented by abstaining from alcohol or illegal substances, a good auto accident lawyer will make sure that the victim receives every compensation deserved.