Although the safety of cars have improved over time, the same can’t be said of their drivers. Driving under the influence of alcohol still kills thousands of people every year on our nation’s highways in spite of public awareness campaigns and law enforcement efforts. The first line of defense against becoming a victim of drunk drivers is knowing how to identify them and applying the right defensive driving techniques.
The Signs of a Drunk Driver
- Straddling lane markers. Impaired vision, judgment, and eye-hand coordination make it difficult for the drunk driver to stay centered in a lane.
- Weaving. Unlike the lane weaving of the aggressive driver, the intoxicated driver isn’t weaving around cars to jockey for position. It’s caused by an inability to stay in a lane.
- Driving too slow. Drunk drivers will often slow down well below the speed limit (by more than 10 mph) to either compensate for their condition, or to avoid being conspicuous.
- Driving the wrong way. Drunk drivers are easily confused and are less likely to notice “wrong way” warning signs.
- Wide turns. The drunk driver’s impaired judgment and motor skills make it difficult to make crisp turns.
- Driving at night without headlights. This is extremely dangerous for the oncoming traffic, especially if the driver is also straddling two lanes.
- Erratic driving. In addition to weaving, drunk drivers will accelerate and brake erratically.
- Tailgating. A drunk driver might attempt to stay in his lane by imitating the driving of the car in front. This causes them to tailgate.
Defensive Driving Tips
- Stay off the road late at night. Avoid driving between 1am and 3am, especially on Friday and Saturday nights when people are returning home from parties and bars.
- Avoid narrow two lane roads at night. The drunk driver’s difficulty with staying within their lane makes them more likely to have a head on collision with a car in the opposing lane. Drive on four lane roads instead.
- Be careful at intersections. Always look for traffic running a red light or stop sign before driving through an intersection.
- Drive in the rightmost lanes. Drunk drivers going the wrong way in multilane highways don’t realize their mistake and will stay to “their right,” which are the leftmost lanes from your point of view.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by a drunk driver, get legal assistance from experienced Columbia car accident attorneys. For more information and a free consultation, contact us at Harris & Graves, P. A.