3 things to know about encounters with drunk drivers

Drunk driving is a behavior that creates danger for not just the person driving, but also their passengers and everyone else on the road. Drunk drivers are almost universally aware of the risks that come with their decision to get behind the wheel after enjoying a few drinks. The same is true of drugged drivers who get behind the wheel after using powerful pharmaceutical medications or recreational drugs.

Unfortunately, the people who cross paths with impaired drivers don't have as much say in what happens. Simply choosing to make the right decision yourself won't completely protect you from the consequences of someone else's bad choices. For drivers who encounter others obviously under the influence, there are three important things that they should keep in mind.

Watching for warning signs can help you avoid a crash

Although nothing you do can totally mitigate the risk caused by other drivers, if you proactively monitor the road around you for signs of impaired or dangerous drivers, you may be able to avoid people who would put you at unnecessary risk. Some of the signs you should watch out for include:

  • swerving
  • breaking or speeding up erratically
  • taking far too long to respond to changes in traffic
  • going the wrong way
  • seeming to ignore traffic signs
  • driving substantially under the speed limit without reasonable cause

If you notice a driver doing one or more of these, you probably want to give their vehicle as much space as possible. If possible, you might want to also consider contacting law enforcement to advise them of the location and appearance of the vehicle so that they can intervene.

In some cases, the symptoms of a medical event like a stroke may mirror the symptoms of impairment. Officers pulling someone over could mean that they get treatment before something even worse happens.

Always speak your suspicions about impairment

Whether you witness a collision occur or were part of the crash, if you believe the driver responsible for the wreck was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should verbalize that concern to law enforcement.

Officers may be overworked or tired, or the individual may act more sober now that police have arrived. If officers know how to perform a test, they may be able to confirm impairment, which will be important for your rights or the rights of other people involved in the crash later on.

Your insurance protects you from drunk drivers

In most states, the victims of dangerous or negligent drivers are at the mercy of the irresponsible driver for insurance coverage. If the impaired driver who causes a crash does not have insurance, the victims of that collision may not have any coverage.

Thankfully, no-fault insurance policies protect you from that tragic situation. Your insurance policy will cover your property damages and other expenses regardless of what kind of coverage the other driver has.

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