What to Do If You Encounter a Drunk Driver on the Road

Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 32 people die in drunk driving-related crashes each day, there are many more people who encounter a drunk driver on the road without a collision occurring. Research shows that about 43% of people admit to driving when under the influence; this is especially true among people aged 40 to 60, as self-reports place them as the group with the highest rate (57%) of drinking and driving.

Everyone wants to get home safely, but sometimes that can feel like a challenge when there are so many hazards on the road. Although no drunk driving accident is the fault of the sober individual, there are things you can do to keep yourself safe when encountering an intoxicated driver on the road. First, it’s important to be able to identify the signs of a drunk driver.

How to Spot a Drunk Driver on the Road

As intoxication levels increase, drivers are much more likely to take risks. This often includes showing severe negligence when behind the wheel, putting others in harm’s way. Some of the most overt signs of an intoxicated driver include:

  • Erratic driving, such as swerving between lanes or drifting into the shoulder
  • Failing to obey speed limits and traffic signs
  • Making wide turns
  • Excessive braking or acceleration
  • Driving without headlights at night

If you believe that someone is driving drunk, it’s important to try to keep a safe distance. Additionally, there are other steps you can take to ensure your safety.

What Do I Do If I Suspect There is a Drunk Driver?

When you encounter a driver who is exhibiting any of the above signs, it’s normal to feel anxious or scared. Sometimes it may feel like you have no options; however, there are several things you can do to protect yourself. First and foremost, if possible, try to exit the roadway. In doing so, keep these steps in mind:

  • Make note of the vehicle’s make and model, as well as the license plate (if able).
  • Pull into a parking lot or to the side of the road. You may find this to be helpful even just to calm yourself down.
  • Call *47, the Kansas Highway Patrol immediate needs line, to report the driver. Try to give them a good idea of where you are geographically (such as specific mile markers and exits) and the direction the vehicle is headed.

If exiting the roadway is not an option, attempt to maintain a greater distance that is safe for your vehicle. Do not try to engage with the driver, follow them, or flash your headlights at them. It’s better to be non-confrontational than to put yourself in more danger. The same goes if they are coming from behind you; although it is often recommended that you move to another lane or the shoulder and wait for the driver to pass you.

In either situation, try to stay within the line of sight of the intoxicated driver and other vehicles. This way, you can better react to potential hazards as they arise.

Drunk Driving Accident? Call Bretz Injury Law.

No one should ever have to feel unsafe on the road. If you or a loved one are ever involved in an accident with a drunk driver, know that you have a right to seek legal assistance.

Bretz Injury Law is here for drivers and their families who have been impacted by impaired drivers. As a member of the National Board of Directors for MADD, Attorney Matt Bretz has a vested interest in keeping our roads free of drunk and drugged individuals and has the resources and knowledge you need to have a successful claim. Call or fill out this short form to schedule your free consultation today.