Ways to Keep You and Your Family Safe While Driving

Like most of us, I drive every day, sometimes with my young children in the car. My primary concern is keeping my kids and me safe on the roads. Sometimes, we have to be worried about the drivers all around us in order to ensure that we are safe.

For example, while driving along interstate 5 not too long ago I witnessed a driver swerving within their lane and driving in a rather chaotic manner- I quickly decided I wanted to be nowhere near the sporadic driver and proceeded to move over two lanes and pass them as quickly as possible while commenting on how they act as though they are drunk. Afterwards I considered the situation and wondered how often we dismiss fellow motorists as crazy drivers rather than identifying them as intoxicated and what signs we miss on our daily excursions. Here are 11 tips to identifying drunk drivers some that you may not have thought of.

Obvious signs of intoxication:

  • Swerving
  • o Unable to focus and judge the situation properly drunk drivers often drift within their lane- this can be extremely dangerous as they can over-correct and cause a collision with no notice.

  • Driving out of the lane
  • o Driving on the shoulder or into oncoming traffic is an instant indication of a drunk driver, drug abuse or an individual falling asleep at the wheel

  • Collisions or Near-Collisions
  • o Being unable to see or react appropriately, intoxicated drivers may hit parked cars, telephone poles or mail boxes

  • Hugging the lane divider
  • o Drunk drivers will straddle the lane divider in an attempt to avoid swerving.

    Less-Obvious signs:

  • Wide Turns
  • o Drunk drivers have a difficult time judging distances and have a tendency to over-correct and over-due basic driving maneuvers.

  • Excessively slow driving
  • o If you witness an individual driving more than 10 miles per hour UNDER the speed limit you should pay close attention to additional signs of inebriation- drunk drivers will often exhibit extra caution in an attempt to avoid suspicion.

  • Maintaining unsafe distances
  • o Having difficulty driving straight drunk drivers will sometimes tailgate and mirror the vehicle in front of them. If the car they are following breaks a rear-end collision may result since the drunk drivers reaction time is insufficient to deal with even minor changes.

  • Happy-Breaking
  • o With limited ability to focus and react an intoxicated driver may break erratically and unnecessarily in an attempt to avoid a collision and a DUI.

  • Improper use of headlights
  • o A fellow motorist without their headlights on at night may be because they are intoxicated and not coherent enough to operate their vehicle properly.

  • Inappropriate signaling
  • o A drunk driver may use their left hand signal when making a right hand turn.

  • Unnecessary stopping
  • o Stopping at a green light, an intersection without a stop sign or an empty crosswalk can show that a driver is not sober.

    How many times have we witnessed the signs above and dismissed them- say the driver is an idiot and navigate around them in irritation? Rather than paying close attention to drivers exhibiting signs of intoxication we ignore them when we should be reporting them to police and getting those unsafe drivers off the road. Next time you witness a suspected drunk driver–pay close attention to what they are doing to avoid a collision, stay behind them rather than maneuvering around them and contact the police immediately so we can make our roads safer.

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