Anyone who spends any amount of time driving through Garland on a regular basis knows how congested traffic flow can get. The last you thing you need while navigating busy roadways is to be sharing the road with an impaired driver. Every year in Texas, and throughout the nation, thousands of people die in accidents caused by drunk drivers.
Knowing what to look for may keep you safe
Would you know a drunk driver if you saw one in the traffic lane next to yours? The following is a list of signs that should cause you concern if you see a nearby motorist exhibiting any of them:
- Riding your bumper: Although drunk drivers aren't the only tailgaters on the road, someone traveling dangerously close to your bumper may, in fact, be impaired.
- Weaving: Other forms of distraction like texting or talking on cell phones also cause drivers to drift from side to side in their lanes, sometimes crossing over the center line or shoulder of the road - but, this is a common signal that a driver is intoxicated.
- Stop and go: If you see someone hitting their brakes in random places and for no apparent reason, you may be observing a drunk driver!
- No lights at night: If it's nighttime and a driver near you is traveling without headlights on, it may because he or she is drunk and not thinking clearly.
- Not knowing left from right: If a driver is using a turn signal but turns the opposite way, it may be that his or her sense of direction is skewed because of a blood alcohol content above the legal limit.
While these are not the only signs a driver may be drunk, this list shows some of the more common issues that may alert you to an impaired driver. The next question becomes: What do you do if you see one?
Be alert, anticipate, and react
It is obviously not your job to police traffic. However, you may be able to keep yourself and others safe if you take the following steps:
- Try to keep your distance from the motorist driving erratically.
- Do not attempt to communicate with the possible drunk driver as this could divert his or her attention further and cause an accident.
- If possible, note the license plate number.
- You don't want to take unnecessary risks, but if you're able to safely stop somewhere, you can call in the tag number and report the incident to 911 emergency services.
It's typically never a good idea to try to pass a vehicle that is moving in unexpected and unsafe fashion on the road. If you have children or other passengers in your car, it can be very stressful and frightening trying to avoid a collision.
What if a crash occurs?
One minute your traveling along according to schedule, the next, there's a collision and you're involved. If a drunk driver hits you, and you or anyone else in your car is injured, you or, another injured adult, are able to seek restitution by filing personal injury claims against the party or parties deemed responsible.
If those injured are minors, a parent or legal guardian may act on their behalves in court. No parents want to see their children suffer. If your son or daughter has been hurt because someone chose to drink alcohol then drive, it is understandable you want them held fully accountable for their actions under the law. Many times, such incidents also lead to criminal charges above and beyond any civil lawsuit you might file.
Information regarding a criminal trial may help substantiate a personal injury claim. One of the first things you can do if you have questions regarding the personal injury claim process is request a meeting with a Texas attorney who has successfully obtained settlements and/or verdicts for other accident victims in the past.