The evening news often includes sad reports of a pedestrian, a child or an entire Pennsylvania family losing their lives or suffering catastrophic injuries in car accidents in which law enforcement expect the cause to be impairment of another driver. Are you or a loved one a victim of such an incident? These tragedies are often the results of drivers who think they are sober enough to drive after hours of intoxicating fun.
Despite Pennsylvania authorities' enforcement of various campaigns, the drunk driving scourge remains a massive problem and the cause of many severe injuries and fatalities. One of the primary issues is the fact that many drivers do not know that their levels of impairment are not determined only by the number of drinks they consumed. Their body weight, the length of time they spent drinking alcohol, the types of drinks they had and their health and any medication taken are all variables in determining the level of impairment.
What to do if you see a suspected drunk driver
If you suspect another driver of impaired driving, your best option is to slow down and keep a distance between you and him or her. Furthermore, make sure you and all your passengers are securely strapped into safety belts. You might do well to expect the unexpected from an impaired driver, and you can call state or local authorities to report the location and direction of a suspected intoxicated driver, along with a description of the vehicle.
What not to do if you see a suspected drunk driver
Although you might want to take a stand against drivers who are under the influence of alcohol, it might be best not to try to pass, intercept or stop such a vehicle. In addition, it is unsafe to follow too closely because you can never anticipate a drunk driver's actions, and he or she might stop unexpectedly. You should avoid confrontation or any interaction with a drunk driver; instead, let law enforcement deal with the situation.
How will you recognize a drunk driver?
Many telltale signs could indicate impaired drivers, and your vigilance may save your life and the lives of your passengers. The following are red flags for which to look out:
- Weaving back and forth across the road
- Driving much slower than the speed limit and braking erratically
- Straddling lane markers
- Near misses and almost striking other vehicles or objects by swerving and driving too closely
- Driving on the shoulder or the wrong side of the road
- Inappropriate stopping at clear crosswalks and green lights
- Following other vehicles too closely
- Taking excessively wide turns
- Signaling that is inconsistent with their actions
- Driving after dark without headlights
You might have grounds to sue
Suffering the consequences of a drunk driving accident can cause havoc in your life. Your injuries might cause temporary or permanent disability that could prevent you from returning to work. Furthermore, mounting medical bills and your inability to enjoy life as before the incident might be enough to bring on depression and other emotional problems. Fortunately, the Pennsylvania civil justice system allows victims to seek monetary judgments against drunk drivers, and resources are available to provide the necessary support and guidance.