Missouri summers are full of fun activities such as swimming, barbecues and outdoor sports. Unfortunately, summers can also bring a very dangerous activity to our state’s roadways: driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs.

Drunk driving and drugged driving can take lives at any time of year, but the rates of each tend to increase in the summer. Here, we will examine why this happens and what you should do if arrested.

Why driving under the influence increases in summer

  • Social gatherings

Summer is an opportune time for barbecues, cookouts and other gatherings of friends and family. These events frequently involve drinking a few alcoholic beverages. However, some people take this too far and end up driving drunk.

  • Summer vacation

There is little that students look forward to as much as summer vacation. Teens and college students who do not have the responsibility of schoolwork sometimes kill time by drinking, even if they are not of age. Some young people even experiment with controlled substances, which can drastically impact their driving abilities.

  • Independence Day

Our nation’s enthusiastic celebration of Independence Day can lead to overindulgence in alcohol. July fourth is the holiday with the highest rate of drunk driving accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Celebrating with alcohol is fine, as long as you drink responsibly.

  • Higher volume of traffic

It seems that everyone loves to take road trips and other vacations in summer. This leads to congested roadways. Statistically, more people on the road means more drunk and drugged drivers.

What to do if pulled over

You should know your rights if law enforcement officers accuse you of DUI or DWI. You should provide your name, address, license and proof of ownership, but do not provide additional information. If the cop wants to search your car or ask you questions, politely decline. You have the right to decline field sobriety tests. If you decline a blood alcohol test, though, you may face license penalties. Finally, you should always contact a criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.