When the Other is Drunk

Even though responsible adults do not drink and drive, there are irresponsible persons who put each of our lives in jeopardy by driving under the influence of alcohol.

The statistics regarding drunk driving are grim. It’s estimated that approximately 18,000 Americans die each year in alcohol-related traffic accidents. Even though you’d not drink and drive, someone else might.

The following tips, adapted from the National Safety Council’s guidelines, may help you recognize a drunk driver and protect yourself from an alcohol-related traffic tragedy.

Recognizing Drunk Drivers

  • A driver may be intoxicated if he or she exhibits any of the following behavior:
  • Fails to stay in lane (or weaves from one lane to next).
  • Drives erratically — stops, turns, swerves suddenly or reacts slowly.
  • Drives without headlights at night.
  • Keeps windows open in cold or inclement weather.
  • Narrowly avoids hitting objects or other cars.

Avoiding Drunk Drivers

If you suspect a driver is drunk, follow these recommendations:

Be prepared to take quick, evasive action.

Stay as far away as possible — pull over and let the driver pass you. (Do not attempt to pass the drunk driver; he or she might swerve into your car.) If the car is headed toward you, pull to the right, stop, honk your horn and flash your headlights. As soon as possible, notify the police or highway patrol. (Provide a description of the car and the license plate number.)


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