When spotting a suspected drunk driver

Roughly one-third of all traffic deaths in the U.S. are attributed to drunk drivers who continue to remain a consistent danger on all roads. During the 10-year period from 2003 to 2012 in New York, 3,752 people were killed in vehicle crashes that involved drunk drivers. That’s an average of 375 per year.

Drunk drivers are oblivious to their surroundings. If you see one while you’re on the road, be careful and get out of the way. The safety of you and your passengers always should take priority because a drunk driver can cause a major accident without warning and unexpectedly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1.1 million drivers in 2015 were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That is a big number.

What you should do

So if you spot a suspected drunk driver weaving all over the road, driving the wrong way, or driving much slower than the speed limit, take precautions and take action. Here are some things you need to do:

  • Keep your distance. Stay as far behind the driver as possible, or even get off the road entirely.
  • Wear your safety belt
  • Ignore the driver: Do not attempt to pass the drunk driver’s vehicle or signal him or her to pull off of the road. The person is not in a rational state of mind, and may become aggravated by such actions.
  • Do not confront the driver. This can create a dangerous situation. What if the drunk driver is armed, aggressive or violent? Don’t put yourself and your passenger in harm’s way. Let law enforcement officers do their job. They are trained to handle this.
  • Record and remember all information: If you’re close enough, obtain the driver’s license number on the suspected drunk driver’s vehicle. Get a description of the vehicle and driver if possible. Remember other details such as the time of the incident, what road you are driving on, as well as the intersection.
  • Contact authorities as soon as you can. Pull over and call 911. Describe the scenario, provide the descriptions and details, including the driver’s road behavior.

Such a situation can be frightening and intimidating, but do the right thing. You’re ultimately helping you and other drivers to be safer traveling on the road.