Drunk driving poses a significant threat to road safety, leading to countless accidents, injuries, and fatalities each year. In 2021, there were 13,384 car accident fatalities when a drunk driver was involved, a 14.2% increase from 2020. Drivers should equip themselves with the knowledge to identify a potential drunk driver and prevent another tragedy on our roadways. By recognizing the signs of intoxication, you can take appropriate action to protect yourself and others from the dangers caused by drunk drivers. This article will guide you through the process of identifying a drunk driver, empowering you to contribute to safer roads for everyone.

Signs of a Drunk Driver

Erratic and Reckless Driving Behavior

One of the most apparent visual signs of a drunk driver is their erratic behavior on the road. They may:

  • Swerve between lanes
  • Make abrupt and unpredictable turns
  • Quickly accelerate and decelerate
  • Drive on the wrong side of the road
  • Tailgate
  • Have a delayed response to traffic signals
  • Drive 10mph under the speed limit

Poor Coordination and Control

Drunk drivers often struggle to maintain proper control over their vehicles. They may have difficulty staying within their lanes, consistently overcorrecting or drifting from side to side. According to Davis Kelin law firm, the delayed reaction time by drunk drivers is a major cause of fatal accidents.

Slurred Speech and Impaired Judgment

When interacting with an intoxicated driver, you may notice slurred speech, muddled thoughts, or confused responses. Impaired judgment is a common effect of alcohol consumption, leading to risky decisions while driving.

How to Report a Suspected Drunk Driver

  1. Pull over to a safe location: If you suspect a driver is intoxicated, ensure your own safety before taking action. Find a safe location to pull over and observe the driver’s behavior without putting yourself at risk.
  2. Note the vehicle’s description and license plate number: Take a mental note or use your smartphone to document the drunk driver’s vehicle description including make, model, color, and license plate number without compromising your own safety.
  3. Contact 911 or your local authorities: Provide the exact location of the driver and detail the direction the vehicle is driving. Pass along the vehicle’s description and and cite the reasons you suspect the other driver may be intoxicated. Your report may remain anonymous if you wish.

What Happens After Reporting a Drunk Driver

After receiving a report of a drunk driver, your local law enforcement will attempt to locate the vehicle and assess whether the driver is impaired. If given reasonable suspicion, police may conduct a field sobriety test. If the suspected driver fails, they will be arrested and have their vehicle impounded.

Do Your Part in Keeping Our Roads Safe

Of the 13,384 drunk driving fatalities in 2021, there were 2,085 deaths by occupants in other vehicles- not driven by the drunk driver. By knowing how to visually identify a drunk driver and reporting them to the authorities, you can contribute to safer roads for everyone.