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A police officer leading a drunk driver to his squad car.Despite extensive efforts to eliminate drinking and driving, alcohol contributes to thousands of accidents each day in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 10,500 people die each year as a result of drunk driving. What makes matters even worse is knowing these deaths are completely preventable if people would make responsible decisions to not get behind the wheel of a car after they’ve been drinking.

Since you can’t control the actions of others, though, It’s important that you know how to recognize a drunk driver out on the road and what steps you should take to keep yourself safe. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on what you should do if you encounter a drunk driver out on the road in Alabama.

Know the Signs of a Drunk Driver

Skid marks on the road from a drunk driver swerving.The first thing you need to know is how to notice the signs of a drunk driver. Distracted and tired driving can also lead to poor reaction times and wavering on the road, so instead of jumping to conclusions, look out for the signs of a drunk driver:

  • Driving 10 or more mph below the speed limit
  • Drifting in and out of traffic
  • Driving over lane markers
  • Driving off the edge of the road
  • Not turning on headlights when appropriate
  • Tailgating
  • Almost colliding with obstacles and other vehicles
  • Using turn signals that don’t match actions
  • Weaving across the road
  • Quick changes of speed
  • Illegal or abrupt turns
  • Slow responses to traffic signals
  • Consistent swerving

When a driver is performing a combination of these signs, there’s a very strong chance that he or she is driving under the influence.

What To Do If You See a Drunk Driver

Intoxicated drivers are unsafe by definition. They don’t have enough control of themselves to make smart decisions. That means you, as the sober driver, should do everything you can to prioritize the safety of yourself and those around you. This includes staying as far away from the vehicle as possible, not trying to pass it, and watching out for any sudden changes in the driver’s behavior so that you can react as quickly and as safely as possible.

You should do your best to maintain a safe distance between you and the drunk driver. If the driver changes their course, you may be the one caught in a car accident. It’s best to stay safely behind them so that you know where the vehicle is.

A policeman conducting a sobriety test.If possible, you should try to record the license plate number and vehicle details. However, only do this if you can stay safe while doing so. While it’s important to learn what you can about the vehicle, you shouldn’t put yourself at risk. If you have passengers with you, have them record the vehicle information while you focus on staying safe.

If you do get the vehicle’s information, you should pull over and call 911. Give the dispatcher any information you were able to gather, describe the driver’s behavior, and share with them the vehicle’s locations. With all these details, the police can take action, and your next best step is to continue to your destination.

What Not To Do If You See a Drunk Driver

If you encounter a drunk driver out on the road, it can be scary and frustrating, but you should never attempt to pull the driver over yourself. He or she may be armed or dangerous in some other way. It is also possible that the driver is not drunk, so it’s best to let the police intervene to determine whether or not the driver is actually intoxicated. So, once you have notified the police and given them all the information you’ve gathered, your job is done.

The Long Brothers Are Here to Help

Drunk drivers are easily the leading cause of fatal car accidents. When you recognize the signs of drunk driving, take the necessary steps to inform the authorities so that they can do their job to keep the roads safe.

If you’ve been in an accident with a drunk driver, our car accident attorneys can help you navigate your best next steps to get the compensation you deserve. Get in touch with our team by filling out our online form or giving us a call at 251-432-2277 to get started on your free case review.

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