What to Do If You Encounter a Drunk Driver on the Road

Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 32 people die in drunk driving-related crashes each day, there are many more people who encounter a drunk driver on the road without a collision occurring. Research shows that about 43% of people admit to driving when under the influence; this is especially true among people aged 40 to 60, as self-reports place them as the group with the highest rate (57%) of drinking and driving.

Everyone wants to get home safely, but sometimes that can feel like a challenge when there are so many hazards on the road. Although no drunk driving accident is the fault of the sober individual, there are things you can do to keep yourself safe when encountering an intoxicated driver on the road. First, it’s important to be able to identify the signs of a drunk driver.

How to Spot a Drunk Driver on the Road

As intoxication levels increase, drivers are much more likely to take risks. This often includes showing severe negligence when behind the wheel, putting others in harm’s way. Some of the most overt signs of an intoxicated driver include:

  • Erratic driving, such as swerving between lanes or drifting into the shoulder
  • Failing to obey speed limits and traffic signs
  • Making wide turns
  • Excessive braking or acceleration
  • Driving without headlights at night

If you believe that someone is driving drunk, it’s important to try to keep a safe distance. Additionally, there are other steps you can take to ensure your safety.

What Do I Do If I Suspect There is a Drunk Driver?

When you encounter a driver who is exhibiting any of the above signs, it’s normal to feel anxious or scared. Sometimes it may feel like you have no options; however, there are several things you can do to protect yourself. First and foremost, if possible, try to exit the roadway. In doing so, keep these steps in mind:

  • Make note of the vehicle’s make and model, as well as the license plate (if able).
  • Pull into a parking lot or to the side of the road. You may find this to be helpful even just to calm yourself down.
  • Call *47, the Kansas Highway Patrol immediate needs line, to report the driver. Try to give them a good idea of where you are geographically (such as specific mile markers and exits) and the direction the vehicle is headed.

If exiting the roadway is not an option, attempt to maintain a greater distance that is safe for your vehicle. Do not try to engage with the driver, follow them, or flash your headlights at them. It’s better to be non-confrontational than to put yourself in more danger. The same goes if they are coming from behind you; although it is often recommended that you move to another lane or the shoulder and wait for the driver to pass you.

In either situation, try to stay within the line of sight of the intoxicated driver and other vehicles. This way, you can better react to potential hazards as they arise.

Drunk Driving Accident? Call Bretz Injury Law.

No one should ever have to feel unsafe on the road. If you or a loved one are ever involved in an accident with a drunk driver, know that you have a right to seek legal assistance.

Bretz Injury Law is here for drivers and their families who have been impacted by impaired drivers. As a member of the National Board of Directors for MADD, Attorney Matt Bretz has a vested interest in keeping our roads free of drunk and drugged individuals and has the resources and knowledge you need to have a successful claim. Call or fill out this short form to schedule your free consultation today.

Motorcyclists’ Awareness of Left-Turning Vehicles at Intersections

Intersections Are Danger Zones for Motorcycles

Stops and other intersections have continually proven to be a significant source of danger for motorcycle riders across the country. In 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 34% of motorcycle fatalities occurred at an intersection, and 41% were the result of a vehicle turning left while a motorcyclist was going straight, passing, or overtaking another vehicle.

It’s important to note that the majority of these crashes can be preventable, and drivers should be mindful of how their actions at intersections can have deadly implications. Here are some of the most common reasons why these incidents occur.

Driver Inattention

Driver inattention is often a significant contributor to these motorcycle crashes. When drivers fail to check their blind spots or mirrors when changing lanes or turning, are texting and driving, or are otherwise distracted, they can increase hazards for all others on the roads.

Not Signaling

Signaling to other drivers when you turn or change lanes is a simple, yet often overlooked, action that contributes to a significant number of crashes every year. The Society of Automotive Engineers reports that over 2 million annually can be attributed to drivers failing to use a turn signal.

Failure to use signals can be disproportionately hazardous for motorcyclists, who often rely on these from drivers and other riders to know how to react accurately to a situation. This is especially crucial at unprotected left turns where collisions attributed to this action are likely to be more common.

Motorcycle Crash? Bretz Injury Law Can Help

Motorcycle riders have a right to share the roadway with other vehicles and are entitled to the same legal protections as any other driver. When a motorist negligently turns into a motorcyclist or otherwise causes a collision, they should be held accountable for the damages they cause.

The team at Bretz Injury Law is here to ensure that your rights are protected from start to finish. Schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys today by calling or filling out this short form.

How Motorcyclists Can Reduce Injuries In a Crash

5 Items That Can Reduce Injury

Most wrecks involving motorcycles result from car driver inattention or turning left in front of motorcyclists at intersections, which often causes motorcyclists to feel that they can’t do anything to help reduce the possibility of severe injury-causing incidents. In an ideal world, drivers would know to be mindful of how their actions can affect other motorists, like motorcycle riders — yet these rates have actually increased over time.

Although you can’t control how other drivers will contribute to your safety, motorcycle riders can take steps to reduce the severity of their injuries during a crash. This is often referred to as “dressing for the slide, not the ride” and focuses on wearing items that will make contact with the road less damaging.

Before any length of trip, ensure you are taking the necessary steps to reduce your risk of injury.

#1. Helmet and Protective Eyewear

Kansas Highway Patrol enforces a strict helmet law for motorcycle riders under the age of 18, and all riders (regardless of age) are required to wear some form of eye protection unless their bike has a windscreen 10 inches or taller. However, wearing a helmet has continuously proven to reduce the likelihood of serious injuries or death after a crash by 69% and 37%, respectively.

#2. Padded or Leather Jacket

One of the most common injuries that motorcyclists sustain in a crash is road rash or cuts/scrapes from the pavement. Because of the possibility of these injuries, it is imperative that you wear abrasion-resistant clothing. One of the most effective ways to do this is to wear a padded or leather jacket. Doing so can help reduce the possibility of road rash and protect you from other factors like sunlight, wind, and bugs.

#3. Riding Gloves

Riding gloves can be crucial for ensuring your hands remain unscratched from a fall, but they can also be essential for absorbing the vibrations of your motorcycle. Not wearing gloves can cause severe numbness or tingling in your hands, making functionality more difficult, so wearing some form of hand protection can reduce these effects.

#4. Leather or Kevlar Pants

Similar to the jackets mentioned above, wearing pants made from abrasion-resistant material can provide some much-needed protection during a fall. Riders will want to make sure they are wearing kevlar or leather as opposed to a fabric like denim, which can easily be torn when coming into contact with the road.

#5. Close-Toed or Armored Boots

Perhaps one of the most essential items to wear when riding a motorcycle is a pair of close-toed or armored boots. Doing so can significantly reduce your risk of open wounds to the feet that can be common in a crash by upwards of 90% depending on the boot. Regardless of which shoes you choose to wear, ensure they have complete protection around the whole foot.

Kansas Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

It’s important to note that while you can take the steps necessary to reduce the severity of injuries in a motorcycle crash, negligent drivers should be held accountable for causing crashes. Bretz Injury Law can help you pursue the justice you deserve.

Schedule a free consultation with a member of our team by calling or filling out this short form.

How the Stigma Against Motorcyclists Affects Your Case

It’s not uncommon for drivers to point fingers at each other after a crash. However, while most of these claims are dismissed without evidence, motorcycle crashes can vary. When accusations are made against a motorcycle rider, they tend to stick. To understand what an enormous problem this is, you need to understand how exactly the stigma against motorcyclists can impact someone’s case and their recovery.

The Stigma

When a motorcyclist is accused of unsafe riding, they face an uphill battle. Innocent until proven guilty often doesn’t apply in these cases; a simple accusation of reckless driving can cause insurance companies to scrutinize the motorcycle rider. Sometimes, the insurance company will assign fault or offer a lower settlement until the motorcycle rider provides evidence that they are a safe driver.

Similarly, even though helmets are not required in the state of Kansas, the insurance companies may offer a smaller settlement for crashes where the victim was not wearing a helmet, even if they were not at fault; the logic being that their injuries could have been prevented if they had more safety gear.

Fighting For Justice

When you’re seriously hurt and worried about your health, arguing with the insurance companies should be the last thing on your mind. That’s why many motorcycle riders choose to hire a personal injury attorney.

An attorney with experience handling motorcycle crashes knows how to negotiate with the insurance companies, help make sure that fault is properly distributed, and that the injured rider earns the full compensation they are entitled to under the law. For riders in severe accidents, hiring an attorney can be the difference between mounting medical bills and a smooth recovery.

To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Kansas car accident lawyer from Bretz Injury Law, don’t hesitate to contact our firm at or send us an email.

How Cars Cause Motorcycle Crashes

Motorcycle riders face a harsh stigma. They’re often accused of speeding, weaving through traffic, and other unsafe driving techniques. It’s frustrating, but there are consequences for this reputation. The insurance companies can use that stigma to either shift assigned fault in a crash or justify a lower settlement offer for the injured motorcyclist.

But could it be that this reputation isn’t deserved and that it’s actually cars that cause more motorcycle crashes? To find out, let’s look at some of the more significant ways cars cause crashes.

Crash Trends

There’s some evidence to suggest that the majority of multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes are caused by car drivers. One study by the Florida Department of Transportation found that almost 60% of multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes reported between 2005-2015 were caused by the car driver, not the motorcyclist.

This is especially devastating because motorcycle crashes are an incredible 27x deadlier than car crashes, yet most of the time, it’s not the motorcyclist’s fault. But that raises another question: In what situations are motorcyclists in the greatest amount of danger?

Crash Causes

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is one of the top causes of preventable car crashes in the U.S. According to AAA, nearly 1-in-3 U.S. car crashes could be avoided if drivers made a conscious effort to practice defensive driving. This means driving the speed limit, staying in your lane, allowing faster drivers to pass you (rather than punishing them), and anticipating that other drivers will always make the wrong decision.

Yet aggressive driving remains a huge problem. Studies estimate 80% of American drivers give in to road rage each month, and they may take out their aggression on motorcyclists. For example, an alarming 25% of drivers confessed to merging into traffic when the gap was too small. While this maneuver is dangerous for all drivers involved, the resulting rear-end collisions can be deadly for motorcyclists.

Rear-Ending

Most drivers instinctively slow down when they see brake lights, but the same isn’t true for motorcyclists. Motorcycles have a shorter stopping distance, and many downshift to slow down rather than hit the brakes. This means motorcycle riders slow down faster than other vehicles, and there may be no visual warning signs that they are stopping. This, in turn, can lead to a rear-end collision, one of the more common causes of motorcycle accidents.

Next time you’re following behind a motorcycle, be sure to leave plenty of room and slow down if you notice yourself “creeping up” on the vehicle ahead of you.

Blind Spots

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 42% of motorcycle crashes occur because a car driver did not see the motorcyclist. Whether this is because the driver didn’t look over their shoulder before merging or because a truck didn’t realize a driver was in their no-zone, everyone on the road should maintain a heightened awareness and double-check their mirrors and blind spots when motorcycles are around.

Head-On Collisions

The NHTSA warns that motorcycles are harder to see around corners, construction zones, and roads obscured by foliage. These low visibility settings can prevent drivers from seeing motorcyclists until a crash is nearly imminent. This can be especially dangerous on two-lane roads when a driver attempts to pass someone and does not see the motorcyclist approaching in the other lane.

These crashes tend to be catastrophic. Head-on collisions are responsible for 56% of motorcycle crash fatalities, making them the top cause of severe motorcycle crashes by far.

DUIs

On average, 25% of car crashes are caused by drunk or intoxicated driving, yet those same drivers cause roughly 1-in-3 motorcycle fatalities. While some of these are caused by unsafe motorcycle riders, cars have a much greater risk of making these crashes fatal.

Drunk drivers endanger motorcyclists for the same reasons we discussed above. They are more likely to swerve, to speed, to drift into the wrong lane, and they are less likely to check their blind spots before attempting to merge. All of these factors combined make drunk drivers in cars an especially dangerous hazard to even the safest motorcycle rider.

To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Kansas car accident lawyer from Bretz Injury Law, don’t hesitate to contact our firm at or send us an email.