How do you know if a driver is impaired?
At any given time while we're driving, we're likely sharing the road with at least one impaired driver. Of course, alcohol and drugs are what most of us think of when we hear the term "impaired driver." However, people can be impaired by fatigue or distractions. These distractions can be anything from a phone to a screaming child to a spilled cup of coffee.
We have no way of knowing -- short of seeing someone chugging a beer or texting on their phone behind the wheel -- that a fellow driver is impaired. However, there are a multitude of signs we should be on the lookout for that can indicate that someone is driving while impaired. These include:
- Driving under the speed limit for no apparent reason
- Drifting out of their lane or even weaving within their lane
- Making unnecessarily wide turns
- Sudden turns, braking or acceleration
- Not having headlights on after dark
- Delayed response to traffic light changes
- Keeping their face near the windshield
- Staying near the edge of their lane (on the dividing lines)
Don't try to engage a driver who seems to be impaired in some way. You don't know whether they're under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and not thinking clearly. Even if they aren't under the influence, you don't want to risk a road rage incident.
The best thing to do is keep your distance and report them to authorities. Pull over where you can do so safely and call 911 to report them. Be prepared to provide their location, license plate number and description of the vehicle.
If you aren't able to avoid the driver and suffer injuries in a crash as a result of their reckless driving, it may be wise to seek compensation to help cover expenses like medical bills. An experienced attorney can help you.