The dinner meeting was a slam dunk and you closed the big deal. Congratulating yourself on a job well done, you leave the restaurant and notice another patron who has obviously had much more than one or two cocktails. He gets the behind the wheel of his car and drives off. Is there any way to avoid becoming the victim of a drunk driver?
Most of us are familiar with the obvious signs of drunk driving, such as going too fast or too slow, erratic braking, or drifting across lanes. But there are other telltale signals and tactics you can employ to prevent an auto body accident with someone driving under the influence.
What to Look For
High beams are often a sign of a drunk driver, especially if he fails to dim them for oncoming traffic. And watch that temptation to flash your high beams back — your beams could distract the other driver and cause him to swerve into your lane, possibly causing an auto collision. Other headlight troubles indicative of a problem driver are driving with no headlights or just the parking lights.
Be very wary of tailgaters, especially at night. A tipsy driver may be using your tail lights as a focal point to help keep him on the road. In the case of tailgaters, make a right-hand turn as soon as you safely can. Most drivers under the influence won’t be able to respond fast enough to follow you.
What to Do
Most people’s first inclination when they spot a suspected drunk driver is to pass them quickly, but this could be a recipe for disaster. The safest place is behind the other vehicle, where you can see and react to problems or situations it may cause. Pull over and wait a few minutes to put a safe distance between yourself and the drunk driver.
Drunk drivers tend to cut corners either wide or short, so keep your distance at intersections. Also avoid pulling off to the shoulder unless it is absolutely necessary. A drunk driver could mistake your tail lights for moving traffic and rear-end you.
Telltale Signs of a Drunk Driver
• Speeding and slowing down rapidly.
• Weaving in and out of traffic.
• Appearing to be drunk: face close to windshield, drinking in the vehicle, eyes staring.
• Driving on the center line or straddling lanes.
• Drifting from side to side.
• Wide turns.
• Nearly striking an object or the curb.
• Not responding or slowly responding to traffic signals.
• Driving the wrong direction on a road.
• Driving with headlights off at night.
• Braking or stopping for no apparent reason.
It’s importnant to stay alert and attentive looking out for drunk or buzzed drivers, especially at night. It is also important to never drink and drive.