What should you do if you see a drunk driver?

The last thing you want to see when driving is a person who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Maybe they're swerving all over the road. Or maybe they've struck an object, such as a parked vehicle or traffic sign.

There are many steps to take if you spot a drunk driver, including the following:

  • Keep your distance: Driving too closely to a drunk driver increases your risk of being involved in an accident.
  • Call 911: This isn't a time for you to take over and attempt to stop the person on your own. Call 911, explain what you're seeing and ask them what you should do next.
  • Provide information: To make it easier on police, provide the 911 dispatcher with information regarding location, make, model and license plate number. The more details you can provide the better.

Signs that a person may be drunk

There are many signs that a person may be too drunk to drive, such as:

  • Driving the wrong way down a one-way street
  • Swerving
  • Abrupt stops
  • Ignoring the rules of the road
  • Excessive speeding
  • Illegal passing
  • Hesitating to move when a traffic signal turns green

Even if you keep your eyes open for drunk drivers, you could still be involved in an accident. For example, you could be sitting at a red light when a drunk driver strikes you from behind.

If this happens, pull to safety, call 911 and wait for police to arrive. Don't confront a drunk driver, as this can lead to an argument that you don't need at this time. Once you receive treatment, review the police report, contact your insurance company and look into the many ways you can protect your legal rights.

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T.J. Smith, Attorney at Law
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