Of the 233 billion car trips Americans take each year, 1 out of every 2,000 are taken by drivers who are driving while under the influence of alcohol, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). In 2012, 10,322 people were killed and about 345,000 were injured in drunk driving-related crashes. That’s an average of 28 DUI-related fatalities every day.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) further reports that fatal drunk driving-related crashes were 4.5 times higher at night than during the day in 2011. Drunk driving-related crashes are also higher on the weekend.
As we approach the July 4th weekend, a holiday period notorious for an increased number of drunk drivers and DUI-related fatalities, there’s no better time to learn how to spot a drunk driver. Keep your family and friends safe by looking out for these signs of intoxication in other drivers:
- Quick acceleration or deceleration
- Weaving across the road and drifting in and out of lanes
- Straddling the center lane marker
- Hitting or almost hitting a curb vehicle, or other object
- Stopping for no reason
- Excessive braking
- Inconsistent signaling
- Slow response to traffic signals
- Driving with headlights off at night
- Driving slower than 10 mph below the speed limit
- Turning abruptly or illegally or making wide turns
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
If you spot drivers exhibiting these signs this weekend or anytime of the year, stay as far away from their vehicle as possible and do not try to pass the vehicle or signal the driver to pull over. Remember the license plate number and the make, model, and color of the vehicle, then pull over and call your local law enforcement to report the drunk driver and the location.
Remember: Using a seat belt, avoiding distractions, and remaining extra alert while driving are the best ways you can protect yourself from drunk drivers.