According to stats collected by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, nearly a quarter of all fatal crashes (24%) in 2019 were caused by drunk drivers, resulting in 353 deaths.
Meanwhile, Alabama had 277 deaths that same year in drunk driving accidents, making up 30% of all traffic deaths.
While the number of drunk driving accidents has been slowly decreasing over the last decade or so, alcohol is still one of the leading causes of car crashes, and car crash deaths, in the nation.
That makes being able to spot—and avoid—drunk drivers an extremely important skill for any driver.
Signs Another Driver May Be Drunk
Drunk drivers can often be identified because they drive not just recklessly, but extremely erratically.
Alcohol affects your decision-making skills, your reaction time, and even your ability to process what you see and hear—which is why drunk drivers may fail to spot other vehicles or hear those drivers honking before a collision!
If another driver is exhibiting any of the below behaviors, they may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol:
- Driving significantly under the speed limit
- Braking or accelerating randomly
- Running stop signs and red lights
- Turning too widely
- Zigzagging down the road, riding on the shoulder, or straddling two lanes (or even driving on the wrong side of the road!)
Related Reading: How Can I Prove the Other Driver was Drunk?
What to Do When You Spot a Drunk Driver
First, do NOT attempt to pass them, get them to pull over or stop, or attempt to follow them. This puts you in needless danger of a wreck. Move out of the driver’s way and let them pass you.
If you can, memorize identifying details about the vehicle, such as make, model, color, license plate number, and anything else than can be used to identify it later, such as bumper stickers or noticeable dents.
Then, pull over and call 911. Provide the dispatcher with the identifying information about the vehicle, where you saw it (such as street names or mile markers), the direction it was heading in, and what driving behaviors you saw to make you suspect the driver was drunk. You can even report a drunk driver anonymously if you don’t want to give your own contact information.
After that, continue on to your destination, but stay vigilant for reckless drivers.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hit by a Drunk Driver
Car crashes are almost always traumatic experiences. Because drunk drivers can behave erratically, other drivers may have little to no time to react before collisions. If you or someone you love is injured in a drunk driving accident, here’s what you need to do:
- Determine if anyone in your vehicle is hurt, and if possible, pull your car off to the side of the road to keep you safe from being hit by other vehicles.
- Call 911 to report the accident and request medical attention if needed.
- Collect as much information about the other driver and their vehicle as possible. Be prepared for the fact that the other driver might flee the scene. They may do this because they know the consequences for being caught driving drunk, or they may be too intoxicated to even realize they’ve hit someone and simply continue on their way! Any details about their vehicle you can provide to the police will help locate the driver later.
- If the suspected drunk driver stays on the scene, try to collect their contact information, driver’s license, and insurance information. If the driver is showing signs of being under the influence, such as red eyes, slurred speech, or stumbling when walking, getting video of this can be helpful as evidence. Many times, they run and later claim someone had stolen their vehicle. Videos are quick and easy evidence proving otherwise.
- When the police arrive, make sure to share your suspicions with the officer. They can conduct a field sobriety test or breathalyzer test to confirm if the driver is intoxicated.
- Call an experienced car accident lawyer. Even in cases where the other driver is clearly at fault and intoxicated, insurance companies often still try to offer victims less than they deserve in compensation to protect their own profits.
Gary Bruce Helps Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents
Here at the Law Offices of Gary Bruce, we’ve seen far, far too many people injured by the actions of selfish people who decide to drink and drive despite knowing full well the dangers of it. Drunk driving takes lives, and causes permanent injuries, every day in Georgia and Alabama.
People who have been hurt in crashes through no fault of their own don’t deserve to suffer that pain, and they definitely don’t deserve to have to pay out-of-pocket for all their medical bills while their injuries leave them unable to work.
We have helped many victims of drunk driving wrecks over the years, and we know what it takes to track down hit-and-run drivers and prove intoxication, as well as make insurance companies provide victims fair settlements. In some cases, we’ve even won our clients punitive damages.
Contact our firm today to discuss your claim.