Responsible drivers understand that drinking and driver should never mix; however, there are individuals out there that choose to disregard this knowledge. When they drive drunk, they’re putting their lives and the lives of others at risk. If you’ve been injured in a crash involving an intoxicated driver, our Charleston drunk driving accident lawyers are prepared to provide you with the legal support and guidance you need to aid in your recovery.
While the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent, alcohol begins to affect the brain at 0.02 percent. At this point, visual functions and judgment abilities begin to decline. As a person drinks more, their coordination worsens and their reaction times slow. When a person hits the legal limit and decides to get behind the wheel, their ability to concentrate declines, they experience short-term memory loss, they are unable to control their speeds, and their self-control is impaired.
Based on what intoxication does to the body, it’s clear no one would be capable of safely operating a vehicle under those conditions. When someone chooses to drive drunk, they’ll likely exhibit certain signs. If you’re driving and notice the signs below, there’s a chance the driver you’re watching is driving under the influence of alcohol.
5 Telltale Signs of Drunk Driving
Weaving, or swerving, is often the first sign that a person is driving under the influence. Because alcohol makes it difficult to concentrate, a drunk driver will likely have a difficult time driving in a straight line. If you notice a driver is hugging the shoulder of the road, crossing over the center line, or completely crossing into oncoming traffic, they may be intoxicated. Swerving can be incredibly dangerous, especially when driving into oncoming traffic.
2) Speed Inconsistencies
Intoxicated drivers will often overcompensate while driving by driving much slower than the posted limit. Just as someone who is speeding is a hazard to others on the road, a person driving too slow can also be a danger.
3) Traffic Violations
If you notice a driver is tailgating or disregarding traffic lights or stop signs, they may be intoxicated. Drunk drivers will sometimes follow the vehicle in front of them too closely in an attempt to appear to be driving normally. Because of their slowed reaction times, they may be unable to stop for traffic lights. Their visual decline can also impact their ability to see stop signs and read other road signs clearly.
4) Poor Judgement
Because of alcohol’s effect on the brain, a drunk driver will be unable to make proactive driving decisions. The person may take turns too quickly, leave their high beams on for oncoming traffic, pass vehicles without looking for blind spots, and more.
5) Sudden Stops
Just like with the speed inconsistencies, a drunk driver is likely to make frequent, sudden stops. Their impaired vision may lead them to believe they see something in the road, and they may not have complete control over the motions their foot makes to accelerate and decelerate.
What to Do if You Spot a Drunk Driver
If you believe you see a drunk driver, there are steps you should take to ensure your safety and attempt to ensure the safety of others. Make sure you stay far behind the suspected impaired driver. Be prepared to expect the unexpected. Based on the signs above, it’s clear drunk drivers are often unpredictable. It’s also imperative to ensure you and your passengers are wearing your seatbelts. Seatbelts are one of your best defenses against drunk drivers.
Once you suspect there is an intoxicated driver on the road, you should pull your vehicle off to the side of the road or into a nearby parking lot. You can report the suspected drunk driver to state or local police. Call 911 and provide them with as much information as you can. Give them a general location, the direction the driver was traveling when you last saw them, a description of their vehicle, and a description of the suspicious behavior. Law enforcement will take it from there.
Drunk driving accidents change lives. Unfortunately, it’s often the victims who suffer from the most significant injuries. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a drunk driving accident, you’ll benefit from seeking legal representation from our lawyers in Charleston. We’ll work with you to investigate your claim and help you recover compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your claim.