One thing that driving classes will not fail to mention regarding erratic drivers is the importance of notifying the police in such situations. In many cases, drunk driving is to blame for erratic drivers, and we all know how dangerous this can be for the driver themselves and those they’re sharing the road with.
If you happen to see an erratic driver disrupting traffic, take note of the make, model, and color of the car, or the license plate number if possible, and phone it in to the local police department who will do their best to take the driver off of the road. Of course, it’s best to pull over to make this call, or have your passenger call if you have one.
Even before you notify the police, or while you’re in the process of, you’ll want to get away from the erratic driver if possible. If you’re on a highway, allow them to pass you, or stay clear of them if they’re going under the speed limit and you’re planning to pass, and really try to keep your distance. If the highway is 3 lanes, put a full lane in between you if possible. If you’re on a smaller roadway, you may even want to turn down a side street and take an alternate route if you can.
Another really important thing that driving classes will teach you about erratic drivers is to keep your physical distance and don’t engage them. It’s the job of law enforcement to get them off the road, not yours, and you could place yourself in a really precarious situation if you try to intervene.
Spotting A Drunk Driver On The Road
When you see a hazardous or erratic driver on the road, it’s very possible that you could be dealing with a drunk driver. According to MADD, a person is injured in a drunk driving accident every 2 minutes in the United States, and 2 in 3 people on average can expect to be involved in a drunk driving accident during the course of their lives. In the year 2013, one person every 52 minutes lost their life to a drunk driver, and keeping an eye out for erratic drunk driving on the road can save lives.
So, how can you spot a drunk driver on the road? There are signs to look out for. A few clues that could insinuate a driver’s erratic operation of their vehicle may be due to intoxication are:
- Repeated fast acceleration or deceleration – If the car seems to rapidly, and chronically, accelerate or decelerate, this type of erratic driving could be a sign of drunk driving.
- Zig-zagging – If the driver’s erratic behavior involves zig-zagging all over the road, this could point to intoxication as well. Now, this doesn’t mean the odd swerve, but “driving all over the road” in a constant sort of way.
- Drifting into the other lane – Drifting in to the opposite lane, or across multiple lanes, is also a telltale sign that intoxicated driving could be causing the erratic vehicle operation.
- Slow response to signals – If a vehicle is driving erratically, but seems to take a while to respond to a green light or a stop sign, it could be a sign of drunk driving.
- Driving too slowly – If the car is swerving while driving 10 mph or more under the speed limit, intoxication may be to blame.
If you suspect the hazardous driver around you is an intoxicated driver, what can you do? Pulling over to the side of the road and calling 911, or having a passenger do it, with the license plate number can save multiple lives. By removing the driver from the road, your call to the police can help the driver to get off the road and someplace safe, while the other drivers on the road are made safer as well. A drunk driver, on average, has driven drunk 80 times before they are caught by police, so if you don’t get a drunk driver off the road, it is likely they will do it again.
Learning Not To Be A Hazardous Driver
Drunk driving isn’t the only thing that causes hazardous driving. Fatigued driving, medical conditions, distractions, and other things can cause you to become a hazard on the road as well. Just like you never want to be on the road with a hazardous driver, you don’t want to be that driver either.
There are ways you can avoid becoming a hazardous driver without knowing it, and that is to stay alert, use good judgement, and put the electronics down. When we’re distracted by smart phones, radios, and other things in the car, we can start driving erratically without noticing it, and the next thing you know, you could be that driver that other drivers are trying their hardest to avoid. Also, if you’re taking medication or you’re ill, take care to know when to drive and when you shouldn’t, and consider how your driving will affect others on the road before you get behind the wheel.
Erratic driving is harmful to everyone on the road, but it’s also an unfortunate reality that many of us will run into at some point in our lives. Staying calm and remembering what you need to do when sharing the road with an erratic driver is important, and it can mean the difference between staying safe and getting into an accident. Additionally, take care to ask yourself and make sure, before you get on the road, that you won’t be the hazardous driver in any situation, and help to keep the roads safe for you and all those driving around you!
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