Impaired driving can mean drunk driving or drugged driving or a combination of both. In 2009, NHTSA reported there were 10,839 people killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. And, the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported an estimated 10 million people ages 12 and older admitted to driving under the influence of illicit drugs at least once during the prior year. Despite education and awareness, this means a lot of people are still driving under the influence, which means you’ll likely encounter some drivers who shouldn’t be on the road. Here are some tips on recognizing possible impairment and what to do if you find yourself driving near one.
Signs of impairment:
- Driving too fast or too slow
- Swerving, weaving or drifting out of their lane
- Making wide turns
- Inconsistent signaling
- Rapid accelerating or braking
- Turning quickly or illegally
- Driving with no headlights at night or not dimming bright lights
- Driving too closely to other vehicles or objects
- Responding slowly to traffic signals
If you think a driver is impaired, here are the most important things to remember:
- Slow down and stay far away from the vehicle. Staying behind the vehicle is best, since passing could be dangerous if they swerve.
- Never try to follow the vehicle
- Never try to stop the vehicle or restrain the driver if the vehicle stops
- Never become so distracted by the vehicle that you become a hazard to other traffic
Finally, to report an impaired driver:
- Know your exact location, including road, direction traveling and mile marker
- Know the description of the vehicle you suspect – vehicle type, make and model, license plate and/or other distinguishing features
- Pull off the road to a safe area and call 911 or local law enforcement and tell them you wish to report a suspected impaired driver
- Describe how the vehicle is being driven
These tips were taken from the AAA DUI Justice Link.
Read more about the major danger of impaired driving.