A large number of drivers in Colorado get pulled over and arrested for drunk driving each year. Thousands of others get away with driving while impaired without being detected. The odds are high that you have at some point shared the road with an intoxicated driver. Learn the signs of drunk driving to spot a dangerous driver and take action to protect yourself.
Swerving or Drifting In and Out of a Lane
Drivers who are impaired by drugs and/or alcohol may be unable to successfully keep to only one lane. They often swerve or drift in and out of multiple lanes. This can be due to the effects of alcohol blurring their vision and making it difficult for the driver to see the lines of the road. Impaired drivers may also have trouble concentrating on a task such as keeping the vehicle between the lines. Finally, you may notice a drunk driver hugging the center line in an effort to overcompensate for the effects of alcohol and look inconspicuous to law enforcement officers.
Erratic Braking or Acceleration
Another common way that drunk drivers overcompensate is with excessive or exaggerated braking and acceleration. In an effort to appear sober, a drunk driver may overzealously apply the gas or brakes. These actions may also stem from a loss of muscle control from alcohol or drug use. If you see a driver erratically hitting the brakes or accelerating without reason, he or she could be intoxicated.
Following Too Closely (Tailgating)
Drunk drivers may have trouble seeing vehicles in front of them or accurately gauging the amount of space between the cars. This could lead to tailgating, or the dangerous practice of following too closely behind another vehicle. If an intoxicated driver is struggling to see lane dividers or focus on the road, he or she may also attempt to remain in check by closely following another car, even if there are empty lanes available. Experienced car accident lawyers in Denver have seen cases in which this leads to harmful rear-end collisions – especially if the drunk driver has slow reflexes and cannot brake suddenly.
Serious traffic violations could be a sign that a driver is intoxicated. The influence of drugs and alcohol can lead to reckless and careless driver behaviors. Examples of traffic violations seen in cases handled by our Denver drunk driving accident attorneys include speeding, street racing, running red lights and stop signs, making unsafe lane changes, road-rage tailgating, and driving the wrong way on a one-way road.
Driving Too Slowly
You may notice a drunk driver traveling too slowly based on the speed limit or road conditions. A vehicle that is moving at an unnecessarily slow pace may be operated by a drunk driver who is trying not to attract attention from law enforcement or other drivers. The drunk driver may be afraid to exceed the speed limit and get pulled over; thus, he or she is overcompensating by driving too slowly.
What to Do if You Encounter a Drunk Driver
If you encounter a driver on the road who appears intoxicated, keep as much distance as possible between you and the driver. Do not put yourself at risk by trying to follow or stop the driver. Then, call 911 to notify the police. If you can, be prepared to give the police a description of the make, model and color of the vehicle. If you memorized the license plate numbers before keeping your distance, this can help, as well. Tell the police what direction the driver is traveling. Then, choose a safe alternative route to your destination.
If you get hit by an intoxicated driver, contact a Denver personal injury attorney at Manning Law for a free legal consultation.