The scary part about driving in Philadelphia is that you can be a conscientious, safe driver, but you are still depending on the other drivers on the road to pay attention and drive their own vehicles carefully. Defensive drivers learn to not only operate their own cars safely, but they also look out for other drivers that may be making foolish errors. One of the most foolish things that some people do is drinking alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a car.
Sadly, every day in America, 28 people are killed in a car accident where drinking and driving contributed to the wreck. Additionally, every 90 seconds a person the United States is injured in a collision with a drunk driver. While you may never drive while intoxicated, that does not guarantee your safety. Statistics say that one in three people in the United States will be involved in an accident with a drunk driver at some point in their lifetimes.
One skill that all drivers should develop is looking out for drivers that may be impaired in some way. This can help keep you safe when you are on the road. Police officers are trained to detect impaired or intoxicated drivers by looking out for the following characteristics:
- Being unable to drive straight or stay in the lane; weaving across the road
- Signaling incorrectly. For instance, using the left turn signal while making a right turn.
- Driving more than 10 miles an hour below the speed limit
- Near-misses with mailboxes, curbs, and other road-side objects
- Failing to turn on the headlights after dark
- Braking erratically
- Not responding quickly to changes in traffic signals
- Turning too widely
- Driving on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic
- Driving or swerving off of the road
- Over-reacting to road hazards
If you see another driver displaying the above characteristics, you should never try to signal the driver or pass the driver. If you try in some way to get the drunk or impaired driver to pull over, you may only confuse him or her and you could have an accident. The best thing to do when you are on the road with an impaired driver is to avoid him. Stay as far away from the other vehicle as you can.
If possible, you may want to make a note of the kind of car it is, its color, and its license plate number. Only collect this information if you can do it safely. Then, pull over to the side of the road and call the police. Even if you do not have all of the information about the other vehicle, officers need to know that there is a driver on the road that is not driving safely. Be sure that you have paid enough attention to street signs that you can give the 911 dispatcher accurate information about the location of the drunk driver. Police cannot be everywhere all of the time, and they depend on ordinary citizens to report law-breakers. For your own protection and that of other drivers on the road, make the police report.
While most people know that drinking and driving is a foolish thing to do, people still do it. In 2016, over 1.2 million people were arrested for drunk driving, and those numbers only represent the people who were caught driving drunk. Statistics say that the average drunk driver has driven while intoxicated 80 times before his first arrest.
While it would be nice if no one ever drove while intoxicated, that is just not going to happen. Learn to recognize the signs of an impaired driver, so you can keep yourself and your family safe while on the roads.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver in Philadelphia, contact one of our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers today.