You can’t assume that everyone on the road is a sober, safe driver. In fact, you should assume that other drivers don’t have your best interest in mind. That will help keep you on your toes.
When it comes to drunk driving, you can never be too careful. While you understand the importance of avoiding drinking and driving, others may decide to take this risk. And when they do, it puts you and all other drivers at risk of an accident and serious injuries or death.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 10,142 deaths caused by drunk driving in 2019. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the number of people who were injured in drunk driving accidents.
As noted above, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is avoid drinking and driving. Along with this, should you spot a drunk driver — or someone who appears to be under the influence of alcohol — there are steps you should take.
1. Keep Your Distance
This is the most important thing you can do. As tempted as you may be to remain close to the vehicle — to ensure that the driver makes their way to safety — this puts you, your passengers, and other drivers at risk.
Keep a safe distance, giving yourself enough space to avoid trouble should the driver swerve, change lanes without signaling, or suddenly stop.
You can watch the vehicle from a distance. You don’t need to be right behind it or next to it.
2. Don’t Take Action Yourself
It goes without saying that you don’t want a drunk driver on the road, but that doesn’t mean you should personally take action. Doing so puts you at great risk of an accident.
Examples of this include telling the driver to pull over, honking your horn, flashing your lights, and driving in front of the person at a slow rate of speed.
As noted above, you should maintain a safe distance. You’re not qualified to take action yourself, and it’s more likely that doing so will cause more harm than good.
3. Call 911
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so if you spot a drunk driver it never hurts to call 911 and explain what you’re seeing. Do so to provide the dispatcher with the following information:
- Make, model, and color of the vehicle
- License plate number
- An overview of how the driver is acting
Be as specific as possible, as this will help local police when responding to the area. The more information you provide, the easier it is for them to find the drunk driver and take the appropriate action.
Note: don’t attempt to call 911 while you’re following a driver and attempting to collect information. If you don’t have someone in your vehicle who can help, pull to the side of the road before picking up your phone.
What To Do After a Drunk Driving Accident
No matter how hard you try, there’s no guarantee that you’ll stay safe when behind the wheel. That’s particularly true if you’re driving close to one or more drunk drivers.
Should someone cause an accident while under the influence, here’s what you should do:
- Move to safety and check yourself and passengers for injuries
- Stay in your vehicle (don’t confront the other driver)
- Call 911
- Accept medical treatment from paramedics and transportation to a local hospital
This isn’t the time to accuse the other person of being drunk or argue with them about what happened. Your health and well-being are priority number one.
Once you understand your injuries, treatment plan, and prognosis, turn your attention to the cause of the accident, filing an insurance claim, and seeking compensation from the responsible party.
With the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines on your side, you’ll feel better about your ability to receive compensation for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and more. Contact us online or via phone at 770-766-4188 to schedule a consultation and learn more about our services.