How to Spot a Drunk Driver and Steps to Take

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a dangerous and illegal activity that puts the intoxicated driver and everyone else on the road at risk. In Missouri, there were 5,044 injury crashes involving alcohol in 2022, with 153 fatal collisions, highlighting the seriousness of these accidents.

Recognizing a drunk driver is vital for everyone’s safety. Become familiar with the signs of an impaired driver and find out how to report them to ensure your own and others’ safety.

Signs of a Drunk Driver

Spotting a driver who’s had too much to drink is essential for staying safe and keeping a distance on the road. Common signs of intoxicated drivers include:

  • Erratic or weaving driving: Struggle to stay in their lane, weaving back and forth are behaviors that can pose a danger to other road users.
  • Excessive speed variations: Erratic speed changes, like speeding up quickly and then braking suddenly, make it challenging for other drivers to predict their next move.
  • Delayed response to traffic signals: Due to compromised judgment and delayed reactions, they might respond slowly to traffic lights, stop signs, or the actions of other vehicles.
  • Tailgating or following too closely: Inability to gauge distance accurately, leading to tailgating or unpredictable braking.
  • Overly wide turns: Take overly wide or dramatic turns, possibly encroaching on adjacent lanes or endangering pedestrians, cyclists, and fellow drivers.
  • Straddling lane markings: Hover over lane lines or veer across them, pushing other vehicles off their path or into oncoming traffic.
  • Inappropriate braking: Brake abruptly, increasing the risk of rear-end crashes.
  • Driving at night without headlights: Neglect to activate their headlights or inadvertently use just their daytime lights, reducing their visibility to other drivers.
  • Excessive speeding or aggressive driving: Some drunk drivers may exhibit increased aggression, resulting in risky actions such as tailgating or speeding without caution.
  • Delayed reaction to changing traffic conditions: Struggle to adapt to traffic changes, like unexpected slowdowns or closed lanes.

Safe Steps to Protect Yourself

Act quickly if you believe someone is driving under the influence in St. Louis. Follow these guidelines to prioritize your safety and alert authorities about the driver:

  • Keep a safe distance: Keep a safe distance from the driver you suspect is intoxicated to minimize the chance of an accident.
  • Do not attempt to overtake: Avoid trying to pass the driver, as their unpredictable behavior may lead to a dangerous situation.
  • Stay calm and alert: Stay calm and focused on the road to anticipate and react to any sudden moves by the driver.
  • Do not engage or confront: Avoid confronting the driver, whether by honking, making gestures, or trying to talk to them, as it might worsen the situation.
  • Use hands-free calling: If you’re traveling with a passenger, have them dial 911 or the local emergency line to report the driver. Use a hands-free device or pull over to place the call if you’re by yourself.
  • Find a safe exit: If it’s safe to do so, consider taking the next exit or making a turn to put some distance between you and the suspected intoxicated driver. This action helps reduce your proximity to potential harm.
  • Provide detailed information: When alerting the authorities, give them detailed information like the car’s make and model, its license plate number, your current location, and the direction the suspect is heading.
  • Consult an attorney: If you are involved in a collision with someone you suspect was driving under the influence, contact a car accident attorney. They can help collect vital evidence, including breathalyzer readings, field sobriety test outcomes, and witness statements, to prove the driver’s impairment. This evidence can be crucial when making a claim against the responsible driver’s insurance for compensation related to your injuries.

Stay Safe and Protected on Missouri Roads

Identifying and alerting authorities about a drunk driver is vital for the safety of everyone on the road. If you’ve been injured in an accident due to an intoxicated driver, speak with our Missouri car accident lawyers at Cofman Townsley.

We can review the circumstances of the collision and help you seek compensation for your injuries through an auto accident claim. Contact us for a free consultation after a crash with a drunk driver so we can protect your rights and get you a fair settlement.