According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drunk driving results in the loss of approximately 29 lives every day in the United States. Drunken driving also costs American taxpayers about $44 billion every year and accounts for about 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the country. The best thing you can do as a driver to curb these statistics is to refrain from driving under the influence. You can also help prevent DUI-related accidents by knowing how to spot a drunk driver and what steps to take when you do.
Spotting a Drunk Driver
While you are more likely to encounter a drunk driver at night or over the weekend, the reality is that drunk drivers could be on the road at any time. Some of the warning signs of a drunk driver include:
- Driving well below the speed limit or excessively speeding
- Erratic maneuvers like swerving, sudden lane changes, or jerky steering motions
- Sudden braking
- Quick acceleration from a red light or stop sign
- Driving without headlights at night
- Running through stop signs or red lights
- Swerving onto the shoulder or into opposing lanes
This is not an exhaustive list. It is vital for all drivers to be aware of vehicles displaying these or other worrying signs. If you notice a driver who appears to be intoxicated, it’s better to err on the side of caution and report the driver.
Reporting a Drunk Driver
A drunk driver on the road is an immediate hazard to everyone around him or her. You must call 911 to report a drunk driver as soon as it is safe to do so. You may also want to give your local police department a call to confirm its policy for reporting drunk drivers. Some areas offer tip lines for drivers to report unsafe behaviors while other local laws may require you to contact the police at their non-emergency number. However, if a drunk driver presents an immediate threat or causes an accident in front of you, call 911. If the drunk driver causes an accident resulting in severe injury or fatality a drunk driving accident attorney in Dallas
can help get the victim and family compensation they deserve.
There are a few things to note about the car before calling, and you should pull over or park somewhere legal and safe to do so. Try to obtain the following information about the suspected drunk driver before calling the police:
- The car’s color, make, and model
- The license plate number
- A description of the driver, if possible
- The direction in which the driver was travelling
- Notable landmarks or intersections near where you last saw the suspected drunk driver
- A description of the driver’s behaviors
Once you provide the police with this information, a dispatcher will notify the patrolling officers in the area to keep an eye out for the suspected drunk driver. While it’s difficult to determine how often concerned citizens’ calls lead to arrests, it’s safe to say that many law enforcement officers throughout the country have successfully stopped drunk drivers before they hurt themselves or others thanks to the reports of other concerned drivers.
When a Drunk Driver Hits You
A drunk driver is highly likely to cause a serious accident, potentially injuring him or herself as well as others. Alcohol impairs judgment, makes it difficult to determine speed and distance, and hinders reaction time. Many DUI-related crashes happen at high speeds, resulting in death or serious injuries to those involved.
If a drunk driver hits you on the road, you’ll need to call 911 immediately to report the crash. The at-fault driver will face criminal charges for DUI, and you can recover compensation for your damages through a civil action against the at-fault driver. If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries and property damage due to a drunk driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney
to discuss your options for legal recourse.