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What you should do if you encounter a drunk driver

Every year there is a renewed effort to lower the number of drivers operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. While these efforts certainly do help provide awareness and education about the dangers of driving under the influence, there are still excessive numbers of arrests and crashes due to drunk drivers.

Combating DUI

In 2018, the Tennessee Highway Patrol initiated a new program called, “Sober Up TN.” This initiative had goals consisting of increasing sobriety checkpoints, reducing DUI fatalities and organizing community meetings to bring attention to the dangers of intoxicated driving. Though final numbers have not come out yet, hopefully this program was able to continue to lower DUI incidents on the road. There were 476 less DUI arrests in Tennessee in 2017 as there were in 2016. Unfortunately, there were still 7,323 people arrested for DUI in 2017.

Encountering a drunk driver on the road

As you can see, there are plenty of intoxicated drivers out on the roads that could injure or kill themselves or another driver. If you are out driving, how would you know if another driver is inebriated? Here are a few signs that you may see from an impaired driver:

  • Erratic driving that includes swerving and weaving
  • Times of fast acceleration or sudden braking
  • The vehicle is drifting side to side and out of their lane
  • Driving into oncoming traffic
  • Driving without headlight on
  • Slow reactions to traffic signals or at intersections

What you should do

If you encounter a drunk driver out on the road, do you know what to do? You should first position yourself that does not put yourself in danger. You should not try to drive next to the car and try to stop them or avert their path. This will only increase the danger of an accident. What you should do is gather as much information about the vehicle as you can. This includes license number, make, model and color. If there are any special attributes about the vehicle, such as a dent, unusual paint jobs or even bumper stickers, you should also note that.

Once you have this information, pull over and call the police. You should also know the area you are in and the names of streets and intersections where you encountered the driver.

Spotting a drunk driver on the road can be scary since it means there could be an imminent accident. The most important thing you can do in this case is protect yourself from that driver and contact the police.

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