How can you identify an impaired driver in traffic?

Drunk driving is a well-known, persistent safety hazard. Despite awareness campaigns and harsh penalties imposed when people get caught driving drunk, many people still take the risk and get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol and/or drugs.

Even though you may take alcohol safety on the road seriously, you can still end up hurt by someone else who isn’t as responsible. You never know when you might encounter a drunk driver somewhere in public. They are often out on the streets in higher density on the weekends in the evenings, especially when major events let out or the bars close for the night.

You could also cross paths with someone who has had too many mimosas at a weekday brunch with friends at 10:00 in the morning on a Tuesday. Your best chance of safety comes from identifying impaired drivers and staying as far away from them as possible, regardless of when you may encounter someone who is driving while impaired. Here are some of the ways in which you can spot a drunk driver so that you can get as far away from them as possible.

They may weave and cross the center line

Those driving while intoxicated will have a hard time keeping their vehicles moving in a straight line. They will frequently start to swerve over the center line or go over onto the shoulder of the road. They may also have close calls, wherein they quickly adjust their path, possibly after nearly hitting the curb or another vehicle.

If someone leaves or swerves one or two times, they may have lost their grip on the steering wheel or spotted something in the road they wanted to avoid. When someone does it consistently, they may be on their way home after drinking too much.

They drive slowly, possibly with their lights off

Drunk drivers don’t want a police officer to pull them over for speeding, so they may overcompensate. It is common for them to drive well under the speed limit even when road conditions are normal.

A drunk driver may also leave their headlights off in the hopes that local police won’t spot them on the road without their lights on. They could also potentially roll their windows down, even if the temperatures are low or the weather is bad, because they’ve heard that cold air will help them sober up more quickly.

Inconsistent use of turn signals, tailgating, sudden acceleration or deceleration and turning unexpectedly are all also behaviors associated with drunk drivers. Giving drivers who show signs of impairment a wide berth could potentially protect you from a drunk driving crash.


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