Fourth of July Safety: Spotting a Drunk Driver
With the Fourth of July fast approaching, we wanted to cover some tips for spotting drunk drivers and what to do if you encounter a driver you suspect is under the influence. Unfortunately, Fourth of July is the deadliest holiday when it comes to traffic accidents. Many of these accidents are caused by drunk drivers. While we all want to enjoy the fireworks show or some time with family and friends around the grill, it’s important to be informed and to drive defensively.
How to Spot a Drunk Driver
There are some possible signs that someone is driving drunk. Take heed if a driver exhibits one or more of the following.
Beware drivers who are:
- Accelerating or decelerating quickly.
- Tailgating you or another car.
- Haphazardly weaving across lanes of traffic.
- Driving on the shoulder of the road.
- Braking erratically.
- Drifting in and out of different lanes.
- Failing to signal properly.
- Having difficulty with traffic signals.
- Driving in more than one lane at a time.
- Driving without their headlights on at night.
- Swerving dangerously.
- Going more than 10 mph below the speed limit.
- Making illegal turns or abrupt turns.
- Driving on the wrong side of the road.
A combination of these signs could indicate a drunk driver. In fact, these signs are similar to the ones officers use to determine whether to pull someone over. While there is no surefire way for someone to tell if another driver is under the influence unless you’ve seen them drinking, these erratic and dangerous behaviors point to a driver who poses a threat to others on the road.
If you spot someone who appears to be drunk or is a danger to others on the road, what can you do?
What to Do if You Encounter a Drunk Driver
According to MADD, once you’ve spotted someone driving erratically or dangerously, your first instinct should be to steer clear. Stay out of their path and make sure there is plenty of distance between you and them if possible. Don’t approach a driver you suspect to be drunk and don’t signal at them. Lay off the horn as well.
If you have someone in the car with you, have them get the driver’s info, such as their license plate, the make and model of their car, and the direction in which they are headed. Call 911 and explain the situation, including the driving behaviors you noted, and provide them with the information.
If you are driving alone and able to remember the information, pull over, call 911, and provide them with the details.
While it’s helpful to provide this information to the authorities, your safety is of the utmost importance. If you are unable to get the information, continue to stay away from the dangerous driver and pull over if necessary. If an alternate route is available, consider take it.
During the Fourth of July holiday, there will be a lot of people on the road. Use your defensive driving skills to navigate traffic safely so you can enjoy your fireworks show.
We hope you have a great Fourth of July. It is truly a holiday that commemorates the best of this great nation.
If you choose to have a drink, please plan accordingly and stay hydrated. Have a designated driver lined up, call a cab, or stay the night—but whatever you do, don’t drink and drive.