We all know about the dangers of driving while drunk – but what about walking while drunk? Turns out that can be dangerous, too.

A recent article published by The Pew Charitable Trusts highlights the severity of this often-overlooked problem. When alcohol is involved in a pedestrian-car collision, it’s more likely the pedestrian who was over the limit – not the driver. And according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one-third of the pedestrians killed in 2016 were drunk.

Why drunk pedestrians and traffic dont mix

Many of the same traits that make drunk driving dangerous also make it unwise to walk in (or near) traffic – traits such as:

  • Poor judgment
  • Decreased reaction time
  • Loss of balance
  • Inattention
  • Blurred vision
  • Impaired reflexes
  • Overconfidence
  • Risky behavior

To make matters worse, drunk pedestrians are frequently out at night, while walking between bars and clubs or making their way to bus stops. Not surprisingly, more pedestrian-car collisions take place at night due to poor visibility.

A problem with no clear answer

With drunk driving, the solution is simple: Just don’t do it. With drunk walking, however, the answer isn’t so clear. You can’t legislate against drunk walking. What’s more, many pedestrian deaths involve multiple factors such as poorly designed intersections, insufficient crosswalks or traffic signals, and excessive speed limits.

Awareness and education, however, can also make a difference. If you’re too drunk to drive, it’s probably not safe for you to be stumbling across a busy intersection. Play it safe by having a ride lined up that doesnt involve navigating traffic, whether behind the wheel or on your own two unsteady feet.

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