DUIs are no joke. They can cost you a fortune in lawyer fees, court costs, fines, and increased insurance rates. Also, a DUI conviction can lead to jail time and the loss of your driver’s license. With drunk driving fatalities accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic deaths in the United States, you should be aware of the dangers of drinking and driving. However, there are smart ways to avoid a DUI in PA. I discuss the most important ones in the following blog post.
Use a Ride Share App if You Plan on Drinking
According to the Pennsylvania DUI Association, 293 people died in alcohol-related vehicle crashes in Pennsylvania in 2020. Unfortunately, choosing to drive when you are drunk can have devastating consequences.
A few options are available if you want to avoid driving after drinking. One option is to use a ride-share app like Uber or Lyft. These driver apps allow you to connect with other drivers looking for rides and help you avoid getting behind the wheel if you are over the legal limit.
Use Caution if You are Taking Prescription Medications
According to a 2020 study, 56% of people involved in crashes involving serious injury or death had at least one controlled substance or over-the-counter drug in their system. (National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration).
DUI Prescription Medication
Drugged driving is a severe problem in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drugs are involved in about 16% of fatal crashes. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that taking prescription medications can impair driving ability.
Many drivers must take prescription medications to treat various medical and psychological conditions. If you take prescription medication, be careful before driving after consuming alcohol. Unfortunately, some prescription pills can impair your ability to safely operate a car. Adding even small amounts of alcohol to your medicine can impair your reaction time and coordination.
Speak to Your Doctor about Your Medications Before Drinking
If you’re taking any prescription medications, talk to your doctor about whether the drugs will affect your driving ability. For example, some medicines depress your central nervous system when added to alcohol. Also, if you’re planning on driving after taking prescription medication, talk to your doctor to discuss the possible adverse effects of your medicine on your driving ability.
You can follow these steps to avoid driving while impaired by prescription medications:
- Make sure you understand the side effects of your drug. If it makes you drowsy or dizzy, don’t drive
- Take your medicine as prescribed
- Don’t increase the dosage or frequency without talking to your doctor first
- Be aware of how alcohol can interact with your prescription
Maintain the Speed Limit and Observe All Other Traffic Laws
Most DUI cases begin when the police pull you over for a traffic violation. Therefore, avoiding initial contact with the police helps you avoid most DUI investigations. Common vehicle code infractions include speeding, running a red light, or running a stop sign.
Unfortunately, the police often immediately suspect you are drunk driving if they stop you late at night or early morning hours.
- Drive sober. This keeps you from getting pulled over in the first place and dramatically decreases your chances of being charged with DWI
- Stick to the speed limit. If you’re going about 25 mph or less, law enforcement officers are less likely to initiate a traffic stop
- Use your turn signals. Turn signal violations lead to a large number of DUI arrests
- Don’t run red lights or stop signs. These actions can easily lead to an accident and subsequent DUI prosecution
- Avoid making illegal U-turns or driving the wrong way down one-way streets – both of which can lead to accidents and DUIs in Pennsylvania
- Always possess proper documents when driving – even if you’re not carrying any passengers in your vehicle (i.e., PA driver’s license, PA vehicle registration, and proof of car insurance)
Maintain the Condition of Your Vehicle
Many DUI arrests occur after the police observe that some equipment on your vehicle is broken or not working properly. Therefore, make sure you are not drawing the attention of the police based on the appearance of your car. Also, do your best to keep your car in proper condition and avoid the following:
- Illegally tinted windows
- Broken taillights
- Broken headlights
- Any obstruction on your license plate
- Malfunctioning turn signals
Be Aware of the Legal Limit for Alcohol in Pennsylvania
Don’t drink over the legal limit if you’re planning on having a few beers or shots at a restaurant or a bar. Ingesting even a minimal amount of alcohol while operating a car can lead to a DWI. Even if you feel okay, driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher can get you arrested in Pennsylvania. An average person can register a blood alcohol level above .08% after imbibing 2 alcoholic drinks.
Driver Impairment Can Begin After One Drink
Remember: driving under the influence is never safe, regardless of how sober you may feel. Notably, your reaction time is affected even after one shot of hard alcohol, a glass of wine, or one beer. Therefore, the more alcoholic beverages you drink, the slower your reaction time will be. A drink can be any beverage containing 0.5 ounces or less pure alcohol.
In conclusion, here are five smart ways to avoid a DUI in PA:
- Call a friend, family member, or Uber before driving while impaired.
- Be careful mixing prescription medications with alcohol
- Follow all the traffic laws if you are driving after responsibly drinking
- Never drive after drinking over the legal limit
- Keep your car in good condition to avoid drawing the attention of the police
- Be aware of Pennsylvania’s alcohol and controlled substance DUI legal limits
- Know your limit and stick to it
Don’t let a DUI ruin your life—use these tips to stay safe on the roads.
Find the Best DUI Lawyer in PA if the Police Charge You with DUI
Unfortunately, you can still get charged with driving under the influence even when you believe you have acted responsibly. In that case, contact me for a free DUI consultation in person or over the phone. I will go over all possible PA DUI defenses and Pennsylvania DUI penalties. We can also discuss DUI house arrest, restrictive probation, and other options to avoid jail.
MY DUI practice area includes Bucks County, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Chester County, Philadelphia County, and the nearby Pennsylvania Counties. Phone lines are open 24 hours a day at (215) 752-5282. Contact me for a free initial consultation or fill out the confidential contact form for an immediate response.