Even though you personally understand how dangerous it can be to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, never lose sight of the fact that others don't always take the same level of caution.
It doesn't matter if you're driving in your home state of Pennsylvania or another part of the country, there is always a chance you could find yourself in close proximity to a drunk driver.
The problem with this is simple: It's not always easy to pinpoint when a person is impaired. Subsequently, you don't take the steps necessary to keep your distance with the idea of preventing an accident.
Here are some of the most common signs of impaired driving:
- Failure to use headlights during evening and nighttime hours
- Making sudden or illegal turns
- Driving the wrong way on a one-way street
- Striking objects, such as signs or parked vehicles
- Erratic braking
- Weaving, swerving or drifting
- Drinking alcohol while operating a vehicle
- Rapid acceleration or deceleration
- Slow response to a changing traffic signal, such as from red to green
Just because you notice someone doing one or more of these things doesn't necessarily mean that he or she is under the influence or alcohol. However, it's best to keep your distance to enhance your safety.
What to do next
If you have reason to believe a person is driving impaired there are three things you should do:
- Keep your distance to lessen the likelihood of being part of a crash
- Make note of the type of vehicle and license plate number
- Call 911 to report the driver
This may sound like overkill, but reporting a person is better than letting him or her stay on the road. By doing this, you may be able to prevent an accident that injures or kills someone else.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, perhaps with a drunk driver, call 911 and wait for an ambulance to arrive. From there, receive medical treatment and follow the advice of your doctors.
Once you are stable, you can contact your insurance company and learn more about your legal rights.