With the holiday season right around the corner, people throughout West Virginia will be spending times with friends and family. Holiday gatherings often involve alcohol, which greatly increases the risk of a drunk driving accident.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even two drinks can impact a person’s visual function and ability to focus. By four drinks, it is likely the driver will have breached the legal limit of .08%, which has even more pronounced effects on a person’s driving ability. Even if you abstain from drinking and driving, you may run across a drunk driver on the road. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself, and potentially prevent a devastating accident.
Know what to look for
Inebriated drivers often exhibit certain signs, many of which are obvious. They may weave and swerve in and out of lanes. They may drive slower than the posted speed limit or linger at red lights and stop signs, even after having the right of way. Drunk drivers also have a tendency to stop erratically, or signal incorrectly. Other signs include tailgating, speeding, driving down the center lane, or driving at night with their headlights off.
Keep your distance
If you notice any of the above signs, do not attempt to pass the vehicle. Drunk drivers are likely to make sudden, unpredictable movements, which puts you at risk. Keep a safe distance behind the driver and be wary of their actions. If possible, take a different route to limit your contact.
Contact the authorities
Even if you are able to get to safety, other drivers may be at risk. From a safe distance, take note of the vehicle’s characteristics, such as its make, model, and color. Try to make note of the license plate, even if it is only a partial number. Stop your vehicle in a safe, secure place and call local 911. Provide information on the vehicle, as well as the location and the direction it was driving in. Do not try to stop the vehicle on your own, or you could endanger yourself or others.