How to spot a drunk driver

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With the holidays around the corner, Texans are gearing up to attend family get-togethers and holiday parties. At these gatherings, holiday cheer often comes in liquid form, whether it is eggnog, wine or a few beers. There is nothing wrong with celebrating with friends and family. However, some drivers may have a few too many and then decide to get behind the wheel.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, each day in the U.S., 29 people die in alcohol-related vehicle accident, which is the equivalent of one person every 50 minutes. Even if you drink responsibly at a holiday function, you may be sharing the road with someone who has consumed too much alcohol. Here are some signs of an impaired driver.

The driver cannot stay in his or her lane

Intoxicated drivers struggle to maintain a steady position while driving. Watch out for motorists that:

  • Weave in and out of traffic lanes
  • Drift repeatedly toward one side of the lane
  • Hug the center line or the shoulder side of the road
  • Swerve to get the vehicle back in position

The motorist keeps changing speeds or braking abruptly

When drivers are impaired, they have trouble gauging speed and distance. Keep an eye out for these behaviors:

  • Suddenly stomping on the gas or hitting the brakes for no discernible reason
  • Failure to maintain a steady speed
  • Driving 10 or more miles under the speed limit with no adverse weather conditions
  • Stopping far short of a stop sign or stoplight
  • Stopping too quickly
  • Coming to a stop noticeably far from the curb

The driver is not using good judgement

Consuming alcohol impairs a motorist’s ability to make decisions. An intoxicated driver is more likely to engage in risky behavior or make poor choices. Steer clear of a driver that acts like this:

  • Driving without headlights at nighttime
  • Following another vehicle too closely
  • Engaging in illegal turns
  • Changing lanes too quickly or much too slowly
  • Head is drooping

If you encounter a driver you suspect is drunk this holiday season, give his or her vehicle plenty of space. You want to put some distance between your car and any sudden reactions they may make. You may also consider calling the police to prevent a drunk driving accident. The police will ask for the car’s license plate number, as well as the model, color and make of the vehicle. They will also want to know what road you are on and what direction the driver is headed.

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