Driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated are crimes that kill. Drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs put everyone else on the roadway at risk. Unfortunately, we can’t control what the drivers around us do before they get behind the wheel. We can, however, arm ourselves and our families against DUI drivers using defensive driving techniques to help protect ourselves and ourfamilies against auto collisions caused by drunk drivers.
Detect Drunk Drivers
It’s important to keep an eye on everyone around us on the roadway at all times. Other drivers can be reckless and unpredictable, swerving into oncoming traffic or failing to stop at red lights. Pay attention to your surroundings and watch for signs of a drunk driver. Common warnings include:
• Straddling the center of the road
• Almost striking objects or other vehicles
• Weaving or zigzagging
• Swerving abruptly
• Turning illegally
• Stopping inappropriately
If you see a driver on the roadway exhibiting signs of intoxication, stay away from his or her vehicle and call the police. Report his or her license plate number if possible. Prepare to take quick evasive action to maneuver your vehicle away from the drunk driver. If necessary, pull over and allow the other driver to pass you. Don’t attempt to follow or stop the vehicle on your own.
Use Extra Caution
Many DUI accidents occur at intersections when intoxicated drivers fail to come to a stop or yield to other vehicles. Come to a complete stop at intersections, and take your time going through them. Check both ways for oncoming vehicles even if it’s your turn to drive. Avoid driving late at night, especially on weekends, as this is the most popular time of day for DUI drivers.
If you’re driving at night on a holiday or the night of an event such as prom, be on alert for drunk drivers. Not surprisingly, the number of DUI incidents increases on days that are popular for drinking and partying. Always buckle your seatbelts, and be fully engaged in the driving activity. Don’t get distracted, text and drive, or take your eyes off of the road for extended periods of time. Expect the unexpected, and prepare to engage in defensive driving techniques if you encounter a DUI driver.
Learn Defensive Driving
“Defensive driving” refers to being ready to take action to avoid an accident. In this mindset, a driver assumes all other drivers are unpredictable and potentially under the influence. Defensive driving requires you to use driving skills that will save the lives of you and your family despite the actions of others on the roadway.
You can reduce the risk of collisions by anticipating a dangerous situation and mentally preparing for worst-case scenarios. Control your speed at all times, and err on the side of caution. Don’t expect drivers to do what you think they’ll do or even to do the right thing.