How to Spot a Drunk Driver on the Road

Published on Jan 13, 2022 at 10:35 am in Car Accidents.
How to Spot a Drunk Driver on the Road

Driving on the road is inherently dangerous no matter how safe you’re being. Even though you can control your own actions to keep yourself safe when you’re behind the wheel, you can’t control everyone else on the road. This is what makes driving dangerous no matter what.

One of those ways you can’t control others is when drivers decide to get behind the wheel when they’re intoxicated. Even though it’s illegal, some people still make the choice to drive drunk. In fact, nearly 20 percent of all traffic deaths in our state are from drunk driving, according to the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

One of the ways you can continue to try to maintain safety is by being able to spot a drunk driver on the road. Let’s take a look at how you can spot these signs to keep yourself and others as safe as possible from a drunk driver.

Signs a Driver on the Road Is Intoxicated

In an ideal world, drunk drivers get spotted immediately by the police, get pulled over, and are off the road as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, in the real world, drunk drivers might never be spotted by the police, or aren’t stopped until they get into a serious crash.

One way that you could potentially intervene or keep yourself safe from intoxicated drivers is by knowing how to spot them by their actions. Here are some of the behaviors that a drunk or impaired driver will show when driving under the influence:

  • Swerving and weaving
  • Drifting towards the lines on the road
  • Tailgating other vehicles
  • Speeding up or slowing down suddenly
  • Erratic braking
  • Driving in the middle of the road
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Hitting curbs, objects, or other vehicles
  • Failing to turn their headlights on at night
  • Making illegal turns
  • Making sudden turns or other movements
  • Speeding
  • Driving drastically under the speed limit
  • Reacting slowly or not reacting to traffic signs and signals
  • Making erratic signals
  • Drinking behind the wheel
  • Sitting too close to the steering wheel or windshield

At first when you see these behaviors, it could take a second to comprehend what you’re seeing. You’re used to other drivers following the rules of the road, and when someone breaks those, you usually will try to make an excuse for why they’re doing what they’re doing because it is so surprising and confusing.

Driving defensively is how you can be better prepared to identify and comprehend what’s happening with these erratic behaviors right away. That way, you can quickly register that the other driver is potentially drunk, and you can report them right away.

What to Do If You Think a Driver Is Drunk

Now that you know how to spot a drunk driver, you might be wondering what you do next. Identifying an intoxicated driver informs you about how you continue to share the road with them, but it should also inform your actions after that. You should know what to do to report this driver properly and get them off the road as best as possible.

If you notice one or more of the driving behaviors above that show a driver is drunk, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has tips for what you can do to help. Here are the steps you should take when you suspect someone on the road is intoxicated while driving:

  • Keep Your Distance. The first thing you should do is stay away from their vehicle. By keeping your distance, you’re keeping yourself safe and giving yourself more time to react safely if they cause a wreck, whether it’s with other vehicles, an object, or a single vehicle crash.
  • Take Notes about the Vehicle. If you’re able to, you should get a full description of their vehicle, their actions, and attempt to get their license plate number.
  • Call 911. Emergency services will know exactly what to do with the information you provide them, but it is crucial you give them the correct information. Give 911 their location, which way they’re traveling, the description of the vehicle with as much detail as possible, and why you think the driver is drunk.

Through all these steps, you need to factor in your safety. If you can’t get close enough to see their plate, then don’t push it. If you don’t feel safe making a call while driving, then consider pulling over first so you’re not moving. In all of this, you’re trying your best to report the behavior, but remember to maintain your own safety.

What Not to Do If You Think a Driver Is Drunk

Knowing what you should do when you think a driver is drunk is incredibly important so that you can keep everyone else safe. However, it’s also important to know what you shouldn’t do when you see a drunk driver so that you can keep yourself safe while driving and otherwise.

The other driver isn’t in their right mind—which is clear because they chose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated. This means that you can’t trust their behavior and don’t know if they’ll be violent or confrontational. That’s why you need to know what not to do if you think a driver is drunk.

Here are some actions you should never do when you spot a driver who is under the influence:

  • Try to get their attention
  • Try to stop their car
  • Get too close to the vehicle
  • Break laws to follow them
  • Approach the driver if they stop
  • Talk to the driver in any way

A drunk driver’s behavior is erratic and sometimes violent. That’s why it’s important to keep your distance while you’re driving as well as if they pull over and exit their car—you have no idea what they’ll do.

If you were following the rules of the road and being as safe as possible when a drunk driver caused an accident, you could use the help of a lawyer.

You Can Trust Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law

When you’re following the law, it’s devastating to be involved in an accident with a drunk driver. Our Gulfport, MS car accident lawyer is here to help you get justice for what the negligent driver caused you, including injuries and damages.

Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law knows how hard the legal process can be, especially when you’re trying to also focus on your physical and emotional recovery. That’s why our office is here to support you through your drunk driving accident claim and recover compensation for you.

Reach out to our office today so we can start working for you.



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