When someone drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they not only put themselves in danger, they put everyone else on the road in danger.

Unfortunately, you could encounter an impaired driver while commuting to or from work, on your way to the grocery store or any other time you’re in a vehicle.

Warning signs of a drunk or drugged driver

Every year, more than 10,000 people are killed in accidents involving a drunk driver. On average, one person is killed every 50 minutes in the United States because of an intoxicated driver.

Although you cannot ensure an impaired driver won’t run into your vehicle, you may be able to minimize your risk. Being able to spot the signs of a drunk or drugged driver may be helpful.

These 10 driving behaviors might indicate that the driver is impaired:

  • Swerving
  • Tailgating
  • Erratic braking or stopping for no reason
  • Driving irrationally
  • Stopping at a green light
  • Almost hitting a curd or other object
  • Not using headlights at night
  • Driving more than 10 mph under the speed limit
  • Abruptly turning
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road

Of course, you cannot control the actions of another driver, but you can do your best to protect your safety and the safety of others by spotting the signs of a drunk driver.

What should you do if you spot an impaired driver?

If you suspect a driver is operating the vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there are three steps you can take:

Step 1: Get away from the vehicle; gradually slow down or make a safe turn onto another road or area. Putting distance between yourself and the impaired driver is vital.

Step 2: Try to get the license plate number. If you have a passenger, ask them to write it down. Be sure you do not get too close to the vehicle. Try to remember the make, model and color of the vehicle if you cannot see the license plate.

Step 3: Call the police. Make a hands-free call or pull over when it is safe to do so and call 911 or the local police department. Give them the information you have, including license plate number, vehicle description, the road they are traveling on and the reason you suspect the driver is impaired.

Remember that your safety should be your main focus and top priority, ensure your actions will not endanger yourself or others. Your vigilance and attentiveness to the road might save lives.