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How to Spot a Drunk Driver

By Grant Law Office on December 26, 2020

driver opening bottled beer while driving

Drunk drivers have been a menace on our roads since cars were first invented. In order to combat the danger of drunk drivers, Georgia laws have been passed limiting the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) of drivers to under .08%.

Sadly, not everyone follows the law, and when people get behind the wheel drunk, they can cause catastrophic damage. Knowing what a drunk driver looks like and how to properly respond to one can save your life.

Signs of a Drunk Driver

When a driver has a BAC of .08% or higher, he or she is considered to be legally drunk. At this point, the alcohol in the bloodstream will impact the ability to see clearly, make rational decisions, react quickly, and even stay on the correct side of the road. Due to these impairments, it is far more likely than not that an inebriated driver will cause a serious accident. Signs that a driver is drunk include:

  • Tailgating
  • Swerving
  • Constant speeding up and slowing down
  • Hitting or almost hitting fixed objects along the road
  • Improper signaling
  • Abrupt and illegal turns
  • Driving on the lane divider
  • Driving in the wrong lane

The moment you realize that a driver near you is drunk or otherwise impaired, you should take proper precautions to avoid a collision.

Keeping Yourself Safe

Identification is the first step, but knowing what to do after you recognize a driver is drunk is more important. If you stay near a drunk driver, whether they are behind you or next to you, it is very likely that you will become the victim of a drunk driving accident. That is why you should:

Get distance: The closer you are to the drunk driver, the more likely they are to hit you. If the driver is behind you, take a turn or pull over when it is safe to do so. If they are in the lane next to you, slow down and allow them to get ahead of you. If they are in front of you, give yourself a long following distance. The more distance between you and the drunk driver, the more time you have to react if they suddenly swerve toward you.

Get away: If possible, completely change routes. While having distance is good, being away from the drunk driver is best.

Inform the proper authorities: Once you are away from the drunk driver, pull over and call the police. Remember, driving drunk isn’t just dangerous, it is illegal. The police will have a vested interest in finding the drunk driver and getting him or her off the road. It is likely the police will ask for a description of the vehicle and driver, the location that you last saw the driver, and, if possible, the license plate number of the vehicle. Even a partial can be helpful. However, do not stress yourself too much over memorizing the number, especially if it is going to distract you from the road.

When You’re the Passenger

Many of us carpool or use rideshare services to get from place to place. While it is good for the environment, it can be dangerous in the case of drunk drivers. As a passenger, the first step to keeping yourself safe from a drunk driver is to identify the signs. On top of the signs we listed above, you should also watch out for:

  • The smell of alcohol
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination or balance
  • A sense of confusion
  • Slower reaction time

If you notice these signs in your driver, it is very likely they are drunk, which places you in extreme danger. Remember, when two cars collide, passengers are in danger of becoming injured. A drunk driver is just as likely, if not more, to cause you catastrophic injury, or even death. That is why you should:

Get out of the car: This is by far the most important step you can take. While you should not get out of a car if you are somewhere dangerous, if the driver stops at a gas station or rest stop, then get out and refuse to get back in. Remind the driver that your life is on the line if they try to get you back in the car.

Offer to drive: If it is safe and legal to do so, you can offer to drive instead. This ensures that your trip can continue without danger to either you or anyone else.

Call for a different ride: If you prefer not to drive yourself, or it is not safe or legal for you to do so, you should call for a different ride. This may involve calling a friend or family member, or, if that is not possible, calling a rideshare service. Paying for someone to drive you is a far better option than allowing a drunk driver to transport you.

Call the police: Remember, driving while drunk is illegal, and should be reported to the proper authorities. This is especially true if the drunk driver is trying to force you into the car or insisting on continuing to drive, despite being drunk. Even if the driver is a friend or family member, allowing them back on the road could lead to innocent people being killed. Calling the police could very well save lives.

After an Accident

If you have already been the victim of a drunk driver, then you need completely different advice. Drunk driver accidents are often debilitating, and you are probably in desperate need of proper compensation. Thankfully, we at the Grant Law Office are top Atlanta car accident attorneys, and are prepared to help you get the highest possible settlement. Call our firm at (404) 995-3955 to speak with a member of our skilled team.

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