How do you spot a drunk driver on the road? And, more importantly, once you spot a drunk driver on the road, how do you avoid them?
You would think that, as a society, we would be getting better at keeping drunk drivers off the road and preventing unnecessary DUI deaths. The truth is that drunk driving is a serious problem in our country that is getting worse, not better…
For example, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 13,384 people died in alcohol-impaired traffic deaths in the US in 2021 – a 14% increase from the year before.
That’s 37 deaths caused by drunk drivers every day, or one dead person every 39 minutes – and every one of them was preventable.
How Do You Spot a Drunk Driver on the Road?
How are they avoidable? When someone decides to drink, they must stay off the road. When a person decides to get behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs, they are already negligent – they are a crash waiting to happen.
That being said, let’s talk about some ways to identify and protect yourself from drunk drivers.
First, drive defensively and always be aware of the drivers around you and what they are doing at every moment.
You may be able to spot drunk drivers – be on the lookout for vehicles that are:
- Speeding excessively,
- Driving too slowly,
- Changing speed rapidly,
- Weaving or swerving,
- Straddling the centerline or driving with tires on the centerline or sideline,
- Driving on the shoulder, emergency lane, or center turning lane,
- Driving the wrong way,
- Stopping for no reason,
- Making wide turns,
- Drifting on the road,
- Braking for no reason,
- Driving with their windows down in cold weather, or
- Behaving erratically or unusually in any way.
The most important thing is to be aware of the vehicles and road conditions around you. You cannot trust other drivers to make good choices or to keep you safe, and you must always drive defensively.
How Do You Avoid a Drunk Driver on the Road?
What should you do when you spot a drunk driver on the road? Protect yourself and get out of the way.
When you see someone driving erratically, you should do whatever is necessary under the circumstances to avoid a collision with them.
For example, you may need to:
- If they are in front of you, stay back and do not attempt to pass them. Maintain a following distance that is sufficient to avoid a collision if they wreck or hit their brakes unexpectedly. If you can, turn off the highway and take an alternate route.
- If they are behind you, stay ahead of them if possible until you can safely turn off the highway and take an alternative route or allow them to pass you without incident.
- If they are on a collision course with your vehicle and you have time to react, slow down, pull as far as you can to the right, and attempt to avoid a head-on collision if possible.
Should You Report a Drunk Driver on the Road?
People make bad choices while driving all the time, and minor traffic violations are common. You should not call the police and report a drunk driver because someone swerved one time or cut you off in traffic.
If you are reasonably sure a driver is impaired, however, and they are a danger to other motorists on the highway, you should contact law enforcement immediately and report them – it could save a life.
You can contact the SC Highway Patrol by dialing *HP on your cell phone anywhere in South Carolina. When you call, be prepared to identify yourself and to provide:
- A description of the suspect vehicle,
- The license plate number,
- The vehicle’s location, and
- The direction in which the vehicle was traveling.
In most cases, you should not attempt to follow a drunk driver, especially if they are speeding or driving erratically.
What Should You Do if A Drunk Driver hits you on the Road?
What should you do if a drunk driver hits you on the road?
First, call the police and report the accident if you can do so safely. They will send both police officers and EMS. Then:
- If you are injured, wait for emergency personnel to arrive,
- If you can do so safely, take photos or video of the collision scene, the roadway, the vehicles, and any injuries,
- If you can do so safely, take down the names and contact information of any witnesses,
- If the other driver is intoxicated and belligerent, attempt to avoid contact with them if possible until law enforcement arrives,
- Follow any advice given by EMS, get yourself checked for injuries, and take the ambulance trip to the hospital if recommended by EMS,
- Notify your insurance company but do not give any statements or answer questions from the other driver’s insurance company until you have spoken to your drunk driving auto accident attorney, and
- Contact your SC personal injury attorney immediately.
Questions About DUI/Drunk Driving Lawsuits?
If you or a family member has been hurt by a drunk driver, your DUI crash lawyer at the Boles Law Firm will do everything legally and ethically possible to help you recover full and fair compensation through settlement or trial.
Call us at 843-576-5775 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation at our North Charleston, Walterboro, Greenville, or Walhalla offices, or send us a message through our website.