Summer Safety: Alcohol & Preventable Accidents

Authored by Nathan Veldhuis

Summer time is time for vacation, breaks from school for the kids, and longer days and evenings. We all like to spend more time outside cooking out and many of us like to find a nice cool pool, lake, or river to wash away the summer heat. Summer is a time for other types of recreation outside, as well as in and around the water like boating and fishing. Summer is also a good time, however, to remind ourselves and each other to make smart decisions in our recreation to keep ourselves, our communities, and our loved ones safe.

With the amount of publicity that driving under the influence (DUI) receives nationwide, each of us knows we shouldn't drink too much alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car—we know it is criminal behavior and highly dangerous. It is equally important for us to keep in mind that drinking too much alcohol can make otherwise safe and healthy recreational activities illegal, dangerous, and even potentially fatal. In Virginia, for example it is illegal (and extremely dangerous) to operate any water craft under the influence of alcohol. It is illegal to walk around in public, say at parks, with open containers of alcohol. Swimming, tubing, surfing and the like, while intoxicated, is highly dangerous and hundreds of deaths are reported each summer as a result of people swimming and playing in the water while under the influence of alcohol. This is made even more risky when swimming and playing in natural sources of water where currents and depths of water can be unpredictable or even unknown.

It can be hard enough to navigate the depth of a pond, or the racing of a river current, even if we are not impaired by alcohol. Additionally, there are other considerations like the loved ones who rely on us for safety and care: our children and their friends. Drinking alcohol in excess obviously impairs an adult's ability to think clearly and react to potentially dangerous situations our kids, or other's kids, might find themselves in. This is especially true if kids are swimming in or playing around water. Cookouts become potentially dangerous sources of damaging fires if grills are not operated safely. Persons under the influence of alcohol should let somebody else manage the grill.

Cookouts and get-togethers are hallmarks of summer, great ways to have fun, and can be the perfect ways to get outside and visit with family and friends. However, let's all help remind each other to do it safely and responsibly. If alcohol is going to be involved in a recreational event, take the necessary precautions to make sure people enjoy it in moderation and always make sure there are those will not be drinking who can safely operate vehicles to and from the fun, operate boats while on the water and who can help manage the grill. Avoid water activities while under the influence of alcohol and remember to keep your kids the first priority. Together we can all enjoy a safe, happy and healthy summer.

As it all too often tends to be, alcohol use can result in preventable accidents. When this is the case, injured victims have the right to pursue a recovery of their damages by filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. If your or your loved one has been harmed by a person who was intoxicated at the time, allow a Northern Virginia personal injury attorney from Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. to review your case.