Drunk driving is a serious issue in the United States that impacts thousands of people each year. Many people get injured and some even get fatally wounded. Because of the dangers of drunk driving, driving under the influence is strictly prohibited and punished all throughout the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 11,654 people were killed in accidents involving drunk drivers in 2020, which accounts for about 30% of all traffic-related fatalities.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to see drunk drivers on the road, however, most people are unsure of what to do when you see them on the road. Although many organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) have pushed campaigns to stop drunk driving and keep the streets safe, many people still continue to drive under the influence.
How to Identify a Drunk Driver
One of the first steps to deal with a drunk driver is understanding how a drunk driver may be driving. Some signs that may signal a driver is under the influence include:
- Driving too slowly or too fast
- Swerving on the road
- Sudden breaking
- Slow response to traffic signals and signs
- And more.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving has a full list of ways to identify drunk drivers, which can be found here. If you detect any of these signs from a driver, it is important to be weary, drive safe, and take action immediately.
What Not to Do in a Drunk Driver Situation
Although you want to keep the streets safe from drunk drivers, you should definitely not try to confront or stop a drunk driver directly. Doing this could put you and other drivers in more danger as it could aggravate the driver if they feel threatened or cause them to drive more dangerously and potentially cause a car crash.
When driving near a drunk driver, some more things you should avoid include:
- Honking your horn at them
- Confronting them physically
- Forcing them to pull over
- Following them
What to Do Instead in a Drunk Driver Situation
The most important thing not to do is ignore the drunk driver. You should always try to inform the police about a driver under the influence. Even though it is wise to keep your distance and not confront the driver directly, you should pull over and call the police about the drunk driver or have your passenger, if you have one, report the driver. Letting the drunk driver stay on the road could possibly endanger someone else who is unaware of the driver.
The steps you should take when reporting someone driving under the influence include:
- Identify specific details about the situation, including the car’s license plate number, the make, model and color of the car, and the location or area you saw the car.
- Have a passenger or pull up and stop by the side of the road to call 911 and provide as much information to them as you can, as it will let them know how to identify the correct car and driver.
- Stay on the line with the police in the event they may need more information from you or need to talk to you about the situation.
In the event a driver under the influence has caused a car accident with you or another driver, contact a car accident lawyer and follow the steps listed in this section about what you should do if you have been hit by a drunk driver by the law firm, We Win Injury Law.
In conclusion, drunk driving is a dangerous problem that occurs too much and requires a combined effort from individuals, communities and higher officials to tackle. By doing your part of reporting drunk drivers while maintaining a safe distance, you can help create safer streets and a safer community for everyone.