10 Jun How to Recognize an Intoxicated Driver
Though you yourself may be a skilled, responsible, and cautious driver, there will always be other dangerous drivers on Florida roadways that threaten the safety of you and your family.
As a driver, you can reduce the risk of serious auto accident by abiding by traffic laws and abstaining from drinking and driving. But how do you protect yourself if another driver on your commute is drunk or otherwise intoxicated? What about when the very laws that are supposed to protect you actually help people drive drunk?
You can avoid becoming a victim of a DUI accident by remaining vigilant while driving, and keeping an eye out for these common signs of intoxication among other drivers:
Swerving. You can often identify a drunk driver by the way they veer in and out of lanes. Oftentimes, drunk drivers swerve because their perception of distance is impaired and their ability to focus is challenged.
Making overly wide turns. Similarly, drunk drivers often exaggerate turns and other basic maneuvers because their distance perception is impaired.
Straddling the lane divide. You may notice that drunk drivers stay very close to the center lane divider in order to try and avoid veering off the road.
Braking erratically. Drinking will cause a driver’s reaction time to slow, so it’s not uncommon to see intoxicated drivers brake erratically in delayed response to a traffic signal, object, or other car.
Driving unnecessarily slow. Drunk drivers will often drive 10 mph below the speed limit in an attempt to be cautious and avoid notice.
Tailgating. You may notice that drunk drivers will follow other vehicles closely, hoping to straighten out their own driving by imitating others.
Signaling inconsistently. Drunk drivers often fail to signal or use signals that are inconsistent with their actions—for instance, signaling a left turn but turning right.
Neglecting to use headlights. In their drunken haze, intoxicated drivers may fail to dim their brights or neglect to use their headlights entirely at night.
Striking or almost striking an object, curb, or other car. Drunk drivers often suffer from blurred vision, hindered reaction time, and drowsiness, making them more prone to collide into curbs and other objects.
Driving on the wrong side of the road. Drunk drivers may drive on the wrong side of the road or on the shoulder, or turn the wrong way down a one-way street without even realizing their error.
What to Do if You Spot a Drunk Driver
So what do you do if you spot a drunk driver and believe that your own safety might be jeopardized? To keep you and your family out of harm’s way, follow the steps below if you spot a drunk driver on the road:
- Distance yourself as much as possible from the vehicle of the driver you believe is drunk.
- Do not attempt to pass the suspected drunk driver’s vehicle.
- Note their license plate number and vehicle make, model, and color. But remember—do not endanger yourself while trying to collect this information.
- Pull over and report the suspected impaired driver to the police. Provide officers with the vehicle’s location and the direction of travel. Describe the vehicle and the driver’s behavior.
If you do become a victim of a drunk driving accident despite your own efforts to avoid it, contact a DUI accident attorney as soon as possible. A skilled attorney can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and overall pain and suffering. By holding the drunk driver accountable, you and your attorney can work to prevent drunk driving accidents from happening in the future.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The Injury Law Firm of South Florida, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.