Driving under the influence is a severe threat to road safety, with dire consequences. In New York State, over 17,000 deaths occur annually because of drunk driving—nearly one fatality every 30 minutes. About 30% of fatal crashes in New York are alcohol-related, causing an injury every two minutes.
Recognizing the signs of drunk driving and promptly reporting the driver to authorities is vital in preventing accidents and saving lives. If you’re hurt in a crash with an intoxicated driver, our experienced Syracuse car accident lawyers at Catalano Law can help protect your rights and seek fair compensation.
Knowing the signs of drunk driving can help you spot unsafe drivers and take responsible action on the road. Some telltale signs of a drunk driver include:
- Erratic or weaving driving. May weave in and out of lanes, sometimes crossing the centerline or drifting onto the shoulder. When a drunk driver veers across a median, it can result in head-on collisions that cause serious injuries or fatalities.
- Inconsistent speed. Speed up or slow down for no reason, making it difficult for other drivers to navigate around them safely. In poor weather like rain, snow, or ice, inconsistent speed or abrupt movements can worsen tire traction, increasing the risk of an accident.
- Slow reaction time. Delayed reactions to traffic lights, stop signs, or sudden road changes. If the driver runs a stop sign or red light, it can lead to a deadly t-bone accident.
- Tailgating or following too closely. Follow others too closely without keeping a safe distance, leading to rear-end crashes. This can result in serious injuries like whiplash for drivers and passengers in the front vehicle.
- Excessive braking or acceleration. Frequently apply their brakes or accelerate unnecessarily, leading to confusion for other drivers and potential rear-end collisions.
- Straddling lane lines. Straddle lane lines or drive with their tires on the lane divider. This can cause a tire blowout, resulting in multi-car collisions, especially on busy highways or urban streets.
- Difficulty with turns. Make overly wide or excessively sharp turns, causing other drivers to swerve off the road or into another lane. This can result in sideswipe collisions or pedestrian and cyclist accidents near sidewalks or bike paths.
- Wrong-way driving. Drunk drivers are often responsible for wrong-way driving incidents, posing a danger to both themselves and other motorists. This can be due to reduced cognitive ability, preventing them from accurately assessing and following nearby street signs.
- Near misses or actual collisions. May sideswipe other vehicles, lamp posts, curbs, mailboxes, or trees. This can force other vehicles into other lanes or off the road, resulting in serious injury crashes.
Encountering a drunk driver on the road can be a distressing experience. Your primary concern should be your safety. Here’s what you should do if you suspect another driver is drunk:
- Maintain a safe distance. Maintain a gap of at least three seconds between your car and the one ahead. This space gives you extra time to respond if the driver’s unpredictable actions escalate.
- Avoid engaging: Avoid interacting with the driver to get their attention or stop them because it can heighten the risk of danger and lead to an accident.
- Do not overtake. While you should maintain a safe distance, do not attempt to overtake the driver. Instead, stay behind them and alert law enforcement.
- Do not honk or flash lights. Using your horn or lights might provoke the driver. Instead, watch from a safe distance and inform the authorities of your suspicions.
- Call 911. When you can safely dial 911 to report the driver. Give detailed information like the car’s make, model, license plate, current location, and direction they’re headed.
- Contact an attorney. If you sustain injuries from a crash involving an intoxicated driver, consult an experienced car accident lawyer. Our car crash lawyers at Catalano Law can guide you through your post-accident rights. We can gather evidence of the other driver’s impairment, such as BAC test results and traffic camera footage, and help you file a compensation claim for your injuries.
Road emergencies, especially those involving drunk drivers, can occur unexpectedly. If you or someone close to you has been in an accident caused by another’s carelessness, consult the professionals at Catalano Law.
Contact our legal team today for a free case evaluation.