You are out on the road, following the rules of the road, when you see another car moving erratically and you wonder whether the person behind the wheel has been drinking. What should you do? Report the drunk driver as soon as it is safely possible to do so.
The driver may be exhibiting dangerous driving behaviors, such as:
- Weaving in and out of lanes
- Speeding up and slowing down inconsistently
- Crossing over the lane lines or driving on them
- Stopping extremely abruptly or not stopping when required
- Having "almost" accidents/ near misses
- Having the wrong turn signal on and turning in the opposite direction
- Driving off the road
- Failing to maintain traffic speed
- Acting belligerently towards other drivers
Drivers may also be slumped over the wheel.
Keep in mind that a drunk driver's reflexes, response times, and even their ability to gauge distance are all impaired. Under no circumstances should you try to intervene or interfere with the drunk driver. Instead, as quickly as is safe and possible, pull over and call 911.
When you call the emergency services number, let them know immediately that you believe that there is a drunk driver on the road. Any information you can give them regarding the make, model, color, and even year of the vehicle will be helpful, as well as any information you can provide regarding the location of the driver. Do NOT follow the drunk driver if they leave the road you are on, just let the police know the most recent place where you saw them. You will want to let them know which was the closest intersection, which direction the car was headed in, and what type of behavior led you to believe the driver was drunk.
You are not obligated to give the police your name in order to file a drunk driver report.
While you may be frustrated and frightened by seeing a drunk driver on the road, keeping your distance is the only safe option. Unfortunately, by the time police can arrive on the scene, there is the potential for that driver to have already caused harm to another, or even to you or someone you care about.