You’d never drink and drive or get in a car with anyone who had been drinking. However, you can’t prevent other drivers from getting behind the wheel when they’re under the influence. Nonetheless, you can learn to spot them and help keep yourself (and others on the road) safe.
People who get pulled over for suspected drunk driving often think they were just unlucky. In fact, they probably did one or perhaps multiple things that aroused the suspicion of law enforcement officers. These include:
- Drifting into another lane or even within their lane
- Nearly hitting another vehicle or object
- Braking, accelerating or turning abruptly
- Not reacting to changing traffic signals
If you see a driver doing one or more of these things, they may be under the influence. They may be distracted, which can be just as dangerous. They might be having a medical issue. Regardless of the cause, the result is unsafe driving.
Don’t try to get their attention or stop them. You could be putting yourself and others in danger. Pull over (unless you have a hands-free phone) and call 911 or have one of your passengers make the call. Be prepared to give the vehicle’s location, direction, license plate, color, make and model (or as many of these things as possible).
Keep your distance. Don’t try to follow the vehicle or stop them. Once you’ve reported them, you’ve done what you need to do.
If you’re injured in a crash with a driver who’s under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, that driver will face criminal charges. However, you may also hold them liable in civil court to seek compensations for expenses and damages caused by the crash. While a guilty plea or conviction in criminal court can bolster your civil case, it’s not required. An experienced attorney can provide you with more information and guidance based on your specific situation.