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How to Recognize a Drunk Driver

February 20, 2022 Car Accidents,Drunk driving

Drunk drivers are responsible for a significant amount of injuries and fatalities each year. To stay safe, it is important to know how to recognize a drunk driver and what to do next in order to prevent a car accident from occurring. 

How to spot a drunk driver


This driving behavior is one of the easiest to spot. Driving in a straight line is simple when you are sober, but alcohol impacts a person’s ability to concentrate and focus on the road in front of them. 

Excessive Braking and Slow Acceleration

Intoxicated drivers will typically overcompensate by braking early and more frequently or driving too slower than the speed limit. Slow acceleration and driving cause a hazard to others on the road who don’t expect someone to drive so conservatively, especially if on a freeway. 

Hugging the Center Line

To avoid swerving, drunk drivers will often overcompensate by driving too closely to the centerline.


To hide the fact that they are impaired, drunk drivers will sometimes persistently follow the vehicle in front of them. When there is an empty passing lane and another car is constantly too close to your bumper, even when you slow down or speed up, it may be a sign that the driver is intoxicated.

Serious Driving Violations

When a driver is severely impaired, they will unlikely follow even the most basic traffic laws. This includes things like failing to turn on headlights, using signals to turn, driving the wrong way in traffic, stopping at an intersection when they have the right of way, blowing through a red light, etc.

What to Do if You Spot a Drunk Driver

When you see what you think is a drunk driver, here’s what to do next: 

  1. Keep your distance. The first thing you should do is pull over to safety or put as much distance as possible between you and the intoxicated driver. That way, you are not put at risk by their dangerous driving. 
  2. Call 911. Next, call and notify the police. Be prepared to give your location, the make, model, and color of the vehicle, and their license plate if you memorized it. The sooner you contact the police, the more likely they will apprehend the drunk driver and prevent a collision. 
  3. Choose an alternative route. If you are worried about catching up to the drunk driver again on the road, check if there is another route you can take to your destination. 

What to Do if You Are Hit by a Drunk Driver

  • Try to Remain Calm: Although challenging, try to stay calm to help you make rational decisions.
  • Call 911: Even if no one is injured, notify the police. When they arrive, mention that you believe the driver is intoxicated, and they will assess the situation. Medical responders will check if you have injuries you are unaware of.
  • Take Photos and Video: If you are not immediately transported to the hospital, try to stay at the scene and capture photos and video of the vehicles, the surrounding area, and your injuries.
  • Ask For Contact Information: If the other driver is coherent, ask for their contact and insurance information. If not, you will be able to find this information in the police report.
  • Get Medical Attention: See a doctor immediately, as medical records can link the drunk driver’s actions directly to your injuries.
  • Speak to an Attorney: Schedule a free consultation with a San Diego drunk driving accident attorney to ensure you recover full and fair compensation.