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What should I do if I see a drunk driver?

Modern vehicles have safety features that were unheard of just a generation earlier. Airbags, automatic breaking, seat belt pretensioners and whiplash-reducing headrests are just a few features that are becoming standard to reduce injuries in a car accident. However, you might agree that the features which help you avoid an accident may be far more valuable.

One thing that can help you avoid a collision and the pain and suffering that follows is being able to recognize the dangers on the road. No matter how much money and effort is funneled into prevention programs, drunk driving is one hazard you will likely always face when you are on the road in Florida. Knowing how to spot the signs that another driver may be impaired may allow you to avoid an encounter and avert a disaster.

How do I recognize if a driver is impaired?

About one third of all traffic deaths in the country are related to drunk driving. That is about 10,000 families a year who lose a loved one in a senseless tragedy. Sometimes there is no time to ascertain if another driver is too intoxicated to drive safely. However, you may recognize any of these signs that could indicate you are sharing the road with a drunk driver:

  • Driving significantly slower than the speed limit
  • Tailgating you
  • Making illogical or unpredictable turns
  • Driving erratically, such as weaving, drifting over the center line or swerving toward or into other vehicles or objects
  • Driving with no headlights
  • Remaining stationary after the traffic light turns green

These are a few of the behaviors that prompt police to pull over a vehicle and question the driver. However, you should not put yourself in danger by attempting to stop a driver who may be intoxicated. People who have had too much to drink can be unpredictable and irrational. It is also wise to refrain from trying to pass a driver you suspect is drunk. You may place yourself exactly in the path of an accident.

Keep yourself safe

Instead of taking matters into your own hands, keep a safe distance, preferably off the road altogether. Contact authorities and relay as much information as possible, including a description of the vehicle, the driver's behavior, and the location and direction the vehicle is traveling. If you are able to obtain a license plate safely, this will help police, but you should never place yourself in harm's way.

You may feel that, as long as you get home safely, this is none of your concern, and you should just let someone else deal with it. However, by contacting authorities, you may help to remove a dangerous driver from the road, sparing some other family the heartache of a drunk driving accident. In the future, someone else may do the same for you.

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Our legal team consists of attorney Wm. Dennis Brannon and his son C. Paul Brannon. We work together as a father and son team to provide our clients with exceptional service and solutions in motor vehicle accident claims and other personal injury matters.

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