Let's face it - drunk driving is a common problem that is not likely to go away soon, despite efforts by lawmakers and other groups to increase sanctions and punishments for driving under the influence. Unfortunately, even if you are driving safely and defensively, individuals who drive drunk have more control over the road than you do because of a blatant disregard for the rules.
Drunk driving accidents are frighteningly common and can cause serious injuries that have a lifetime impact on those who were innocent. If you think you are driving near a drunk driver, watch for the following signs so that you may call law enforcement before an accident occurs. If everyone on the road is aware and concerned, it may help to minimize the injuries and deaths caused by drunk driving.
Erratic driving patterns
Large amounts of alcohol can reduce inhibitions, make a driver feel they are invincible and delay reaction times in dangerous ways. Drivers under the influence will often drive erratically, so others should watch for the following warning signs:
- Quick deceleration or acceleration
- Drifting through traffic lanes
- Zig-zagging or weaving all over the road
- Signaling that does not match driving
- Turning illegally or abruptly
- Driving the wrong way on the road
- Slower responses to traffic signs and signals
Just one of these issues may not warrant a call, but if you notice several of the behaviors occurring for some time, you may want to pull over and call the police.
Driving on sidewalks, driveways or lawns
The road is obviously for driving, but drunk drivers often lack the ability to accurately determine where they are. If you see a driver pulling up on the sidewalk or driving on yards or commercial property, they may be under the influence.
Speed limits are set to slow drivers down, but they are also meant to create a safe minimum speed. Some choose to drive under the speed limit, but drunk drivers often do this without being aware that they are driving slow. If you are behind a driver who has exhibited some of the common signs of driving under the influence and they are driving more than 10 miles under the speed limit, it warrants an emergency call.
Protect yourself and your family
Many feel a responsibility to be good citizens and follow a drunk driver to ensure that everyone is safe on the road, but this may end in disaster for you and your family. If you fear another driver is drunk, it is best to make a phone call and let law enforcement handle it. If you have been injured or someone you love has been killed by a drunk driver, you should seek the advice of an attorney immediately.