Drunk driving remains a persistent problem on American roads, particularly after large sporting events, concerts, or other large celebrations. Recognizing the dangers of impaired driving and taking proactive steps to avoid dangerous drivers protects you and your loved ones. In this article, we discuss the ways in which you can avoid drunk drivers and prioritize your safety when behind the wheel. If a collision does occur, you may consider speaking with a skilled Houston car accident lawyer to discuss the details of the crash and determine your legal options.
Identifying Potential Signs of Intoxicated Drivers
Drunk drivers often exhibit distinct driving patterns that are visibly unusual or dangerous. Be vigilant for:
- Erratic Behavior: Swerving, weaving, drifting across lanes, speeding up or slowing down erratically, and sudden braking are all red flags.
- Inconsistent Traffic Patterns: Rolling through stop signs, failing to signal, making illegal turns, or driving at inappropriate speeds indicate impaired judgment or reaction times.
- Visual Clues: Look for vehicles with damaged headlights, tail lights, or bodywork, which might indicate that a vehicle was in a recent collision. Open containers or the smell of alcohol emanating from a vehicle are stark indicators of potential impairment, though these signs can be difficult to detect as you’re driving.
Defensive Strategies for Dealing With Impaired Drivers
Maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles is your first line of defense against erratic drivers. Under normal road conditions, you should leave at least three seconds of following distance for the car in front of you. If there is significant traffic, limited visibility, or poor weather, increase this cushion accordingly. The “three-second rule” should be used as a minimum guideline and ought to be adjusted based on your speed and road conditions. Pay close attention to the vehicle ahead of you at all times. Observe their brake lights, changes in speed, and overall driving. Stay out of the blind spots of larger vehicles, like trucks or buses, where your vehicle may not be visible.
In addition to maintaining a physical cushion, you need to stay focused and alert. Scan your surroundings constantly to seek out potential hazards. Look for telltale signs of impaired driving, such as swerving, inconsistent speeds, and failure to signal. Always have an escape route in mind, like an empty lane or shoulder, in case you need to react quickly to an out-of-control vehicle or dangerous situation.
Defensive driving is about proactive awareness and taking steps to minimize risks. By maintaining a safe distance, staying alert, and anticipating potential dangers, you improve your chances of avoiding drunk drivers and keeping your passengers safe.
How Can You Report a Drunk Driver?
If you encounter a suspected drunk driver on the road, you need to prioritize the safety of everyone inside your own vehicle. Do not attempt to confront the suspected impaired driver or pursue their vehicle at unsafe speeds. Instead, pull over to a safe location and immediately call law enforcement. When reporting, do your best to remain calm and relay relevant information, such as:
- The vehicle’s description: Make, model, color, and license plate number (if possible)
- The vehicle’s location: Your current location and the direction the vehicle was traveling, using street names, freeway ramps, and landmarks to help guide law enforcement officers
- The driver’s behavior: Specific observations of erratic driving or other signs of impairment
Stay on the line with the dispatcher and observe the vehicle from a safe distance when possible. Do not pursue the vehicle or attempt to force it to stop. Your report, as trivial as it may seem at the moment, could be the crucial piece of information that prevents a potential tragedy. If law enforcement officers contact you for additional information or a testimony, cooperate with them to the best of your ability. Your observations can help law enforcement or an injury attorney build a case and hold the impaired driver accountable.
Recognizing & Avoiding the Threat of Impaired Drivers
By staying informed, recognizing the signs of drunk driving, implementing defensive driving techniques, and reporting suspicious behavior, you help make the roads a safer place for your loved ones. When in doubt, it’s essential to report suspected drunk drivers and take care to stay out of their path. Never put yourself at risk to pursue or stop an impaired driver. We hope this article helps you stay safe behind the wheel!