In addition to avoiding drinking and driving themselves, knowing how to spot a potentially drunk driver may help people avoid alcohol-related accidents.
According to the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, there is a fatal alcohol-related collision every 30 minutes in the U.S. Avoiding drinking and driving themselves is a vital step people can take in order to avoid being injured or killed in such accidents. Unfortunately, however, they cannot ensure the motorists they are sharing the roads with have done the same. Therefore, it may be important for people to know how to identify a possibly drunk driver and the road and what to do if they spot one.
Effects of alcohol on the body
Alcohol can cause a range of effects on the human body upon being consumed. After as few as two drinks, people may experience relaxation, altered mood and impaired judgment. Alcohol consumption may also cause decreased alertness, reduced coordination, deteriorated reaction time, and impaired self-control and reasoning. For drivers, these effects may cause difficulty steering and controlling speed, reduced ability to brake appropriately and maintain lane position, decreased visual functions and impaired perception. As a result, their ability to respond to driving and roadway situations and to control their vehicles may be affected, which may increase their risk of getting into a serious auto accident.
Signs of intoxication
Perhaps the most important tool for helping people avoid alcohol-related collisions is knowing how to identify motorists that may be intoxicated. In addition to swerving across traffic and hitting or almost hitting other vehicles and objects on the road, some of the most common signs that a driver is under the influence include the following:
- Delayed responses to traffic signals or road signs
- Making wide, illegal or abrupt turns
- Driving well over or well under the posted speed limit
- Using signals in a way that is not consistent with actions or neglecting to use them altogether
Additionally, driving in areas that are not designated for vehicles, crossing over into oncoming lanes of traffic or driving on the wrong side of the road may also be indicators that a driver may be intoxicated.
Responding to a potential drunk driver
Spotting potentially intoxicated motorists on the road is helpful, but it alone is not enough to protect people from being involved in drunk driving crashes. If drivers see another motorist on the road they believe is under the influence, they are advised not to try to stop the car themselves or to attempt to pass it. Rather, they should stay well behind the vehicle. If possible, they may consider taking an alternative route to their destinations. Once they have ensured their distance and safety, people should report their suspicions to the local law enforcement.
Seeking legal assistance
When drunk driving accidents occur in Connecticut and elsewhere, it is not just the intoxicated motorists who may be affected. Consequently, other drivers or their passengers may find themselves severely injured and struggling with problems such as lost wages and mounting medical bills. Therefore, those who have been involved in alcohol-related crashes may benefit from working with an attorney to understand their rights and options for pursuing financial compensation.