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Sharing the road with danger: How to handle an impaired driver

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

The open road is supposed to be a symbol of freedom, but it can quickly turn dangerous when you encounter an impaired driver. Regardless of what substance they’re under the influence of, an impaired driver can pose a serious threat to you.

That’s why you should know how to react in this situation. After all, you can’t choose who you drive next to or dictate other motorists’ driving behavior. 

Stay calm and assess the threat

Suppose you suspect that the driver next to you is impaired; it’s crucial to stay calm. Panicking can easily cloud your judgment and push you into making decisions without thinking through them. 

Consciously take deep, intentional breaths to slow down your heart rate. This way, you can get the tension under control and stay alert in the face of potential danger. 

When you’re calm and collected, confirm your suspicions. Is the driver weaving erratically within the lane, straddling the center line or driving significantly slower or faster than the flow of traffic? Sudden braking or slow reaction times can also be indicators of impairment.

Increase distance and avoid engagement

Once you confirm the danger, your primary goal should be to create as much space between your vehicle and the impaired driver as possible. Steadily slow down your vehicle to increase your following distance. Don’t attempt to pass the driver, as their unpredictable behavior could lead to a collision. Furthermore, you should resist any urges to honk at them or engage in any way that might provoke a reaction.

While you might not dictate fellow motorists’ driving behaviors, you sure can help ensure your safety in the face of danger. In the unfortunate event that an impaired driver collides with your vehicle, seek legal guidance to learn if you’re eligible for compensation.