Avoiding Impaired Drivers
Over a million American drivers are arrested each year for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. And it’s estimated that three out of every 10 people will be involved in an alcohol or drug-related crash during their lifetime. Given these statistics, your commercial drivers need to be aware of the warning signs of driver impairment and trained to safely attempt avoiding an accident with an impaired driver.
Groups at Risk
Male drivers are involved in fatal impaired motor vehicle accidents approximately twice as often as female drivers. The risk of being involved in an alcohol-related crash is also much greater for young people. Approximately 40% of those under age 24 who die in vehicle accidents have drug or alcohol impairments.
Warning Signs of an Impaired Driver
Your drivers can help avoid becoming a statistic by recognizing the signs of a hazardous driver:
- Drifting or weaving
- Speeding or driving too slowly
- Giving inconsistent signaling
- Braking erratically
- Stopping without apparent cause
- Accelerating or slowing down rapidly
- Driving with head out of the window or with the window down in cold weather
- Driving into opposing or crossing traffic
- Driving with tires on a lane marker
- Slow response to traffic signals
- Almost striking an object or another vehicle
- Making unusually wide turns
- Driving on the shoulder or the roadside
- Turning abruptly or illegally
- Driving with headlights off in the dark
Avoiding Impaired Drivers
Commercial drivers should follow these tips if they encounter an impaired driver.
When a driver ahead of you is driving in an unsafe manner: Keep a safe following distance and allow yourself plenty of time to react.
When the driver is behind you: Turn off at the nearest intersection or driveway and allow the driver to pass before continuing.
When a suspected impaired driver is approaching you: Slow down quickly, move to the right side of the road and stop. This will help avoid a head-on collision. You may also want to sound your horn and flash your lights if there is enough time.
When approaching an intersection, slow down and be aware of your surroundings. Look left, then right, then left again. Remember to leave yourself enough room around other cars and obstacles so you can take evasive action if necessary. Always lock your vehicle doors, fasten your seat belt, and have any passengers do the same. These measures can help keep you safe.
If possible and safe to do so, obtain the license plate number of any vehicle driving erratically. Contact law enforcement by dialing 911 and report a description of the vehicle, license plate number and location and direction of travel.