How Do You Recognize a Drunk Driver?

Drunk-driving causes some of the most horrific injuries and fatalities on the road. The statistics are incredibly frightening and should discourage anyone from driving drunk. Despite this 2016 was one of the worst years for drink driving deaths. But as with everything in life, we do not have control over others’ behavior.  We can only control what we do. Hopefully, you will use good judgment, understand the risks, learn about the statistics, and won’t operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. But the ability to recognize a drunk driver whether a stranger or friend could save the lives of others.

Being involved in a drunk driving accident is devastating, especially if you are the victim. You should always contact the police, your insurance company, and an attorney. In the event that you are involved in an accident, you can contact The Barnes Firm to answer your questions and represent you in court, if necessary.

It is very regrettable but drunk driving is not uncommon, especially around the holidays. People tend to go to a lot of parties where alcohol is being served as they celebrate.  When you are on the road, you need to know what signs to watch out for to protect yourself against getting hit by a drunk driver. Alcohol impairs your reaction time, focus, coordination, and your judgment. It is scary to hear that according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, one-tenth of the U.S. population still believe that they can handle a car while intoxicated.

Because so many people think they can drive under the influence, it seems obvious that many will do so. It is for this reason that you and your loved ones need to be able to recognize a drunk driver before it’s too late.

recognize a drunk driver

Here are some signs to help you recognize a drunk driver:

Unexplained changes in speed

Beware of a car that is randomly speeding up, then slowing down, and then speeding up again without any obvious reason such as a traffic jam.

Incorrect signaling

Driving under the influence can make a driver confused and cause them to use the wrong turn signal or perhaps not signal at all.

Erratic lane changes

Swaying, straddling lanes, crossing a double yellow line, and jerking can be signs of a driver under the influence of alcohol.

Unusual driving behaviors

Sometimes when a driver is intoxicated they become paranoid. They might stop at green lights out of confusion or slam on their brakes because of their impaired reaction time.

Traffic lights and stop signs

It is not uncommon for a driver to run a red light or not stop at a stop sign, so this alone is not indicative of drunk driving. However, combined with other erratic driving behaviors, it might be.

Driving on the wrong side:

Can you imagine driving along a highway and seeing a car coming right at you going in the wrong direction?

Driving too slow, following too closely behind another car, driving at night without headlights, and running over curbs are also things to watch out for.

What Can You Do?

If you are driving and recognize a drunk driver you should do whatever you can to keep safe.  You don’t have to know for sure if they are under the influence. Even if they are not, their driving behavior is potentially dangerous to you and others near you on the road.

If the person you suspect is drunk is driving in front of you, stay as far behind them as possible especially when driving on winter roads. This way if they stop short unexpectedly, you will not ram into their car.  If you can, get out of the way completely. If they are behind you, move over and let them pass you to keep yourself out of harm’s way.

You should wear your seat belt anyway, but especially if you suspect someone of driving drunk. Seat belts are known to save lives in accidents. If you can, pull off the road and call 911. Make sure you relate the location, direction, and any description of the car you can remember.

If you can’t stop immediately, stop as soon as you can, get off the road and make that phone call. You never know whose life you might save.  Remember, that your first concern is your own and your passengers’ safety. It is not your responsibility to try to stop and confront the driver. Leave that up to the authorities.