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Protecting yourself from drunk driving accidents

The summer is traditionally a time of relaxation, especially in the weeks surrounding the nation's Independence Day. However, the festivities could end in tragedy if people are not careful.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the weeks surrounding the Fourth of July are dangerously popular times for drinking and driving. In 2014, 164 people were killed between July 3 and July 7 in accidents where at least one driver had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher.

Needless to say, the NHTSA is serious about saving lives and improving these statistics. Much of the nation's law enforcement has joined the "drive sober or get pulled over" program this summer. Here are a few ways you can stay safe.

1. Plan ahead

Always plan a safe route home, and appoint a designated driver who will remain sober if you plan on drinking during your event or barbecue. Make sure that person stays completely sober - buzzed driving is drunk driving.

2. Use technology to your advantage

In addition to using a navigation app to help you plot a safe route home, consider downloading the NHTSA's SaferRide app to help you call a taxi or sober friend if you need an alternative pickup option. Rideshare services like Uber or Lyft could also be viable options if you're feeling a little too tipsy to get behind the wheel.

3. Contact local law enforcement if you see a drunk driver on the road

When it comes to drunk driving, there's no such thing as a "snitch." If you see someone driving erratically who is obviously impaired, take note of the vehicle and location (as best you can) and contact local law enforcement as soon as you're safely able. It may seem like extra work, but your action could save lives.

4. Don't be afraid to stop your friends

As with any other time of the year, if you see a friend or loved one about to drive drunk, take their keys. You could save their life - or someone else's.

If you or a loved one was unfortunately injured this past holiday week, contact an attorney for help. He or she can help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.

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