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How can you identify and report a drunk driver?

Drunk individuals do not just put themselves at risk when they choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle - they put others at risk as well. If you see someone driving erratically along a Washington road, you have a duty to yourself and others to call the authorities and report the driver. Many people feel guilty for doing so, as there is always the chance that the person is just tired or took his or her eyes off the road for a second. If you experience a moment of hesitation, you can assuage your guilt by knowing how to identify a truly drunk driver. SafeWise provides tips you can use.

According to SafeWise, an impaired driver will exhibit telltale signs. Unfortunately, distracted and tired drivers will exhibit many of the same signs, but if someone is driving dangerously, they still pose a threat to others and you should report them. That said, the telltale signs for which you should look include the following:

  •       Erratic acceleration or braking
  •       Slowing or swerving
  •       Sudden turns
  •       Driving on the wrong side of the road or down the middle of the road
  •       Inappropriate stopping in traffic
  •       Failure to abide by traffic signals

If you identify any of the above signs, there is a good chance that the driver of the vehicle is drunk. You can report the driver by calling 911 and letting the operator know you suspect a drunk driver. Inform the operator of your location and try to be as detailed as possible. Give street names, intersections and identify any notable landmarks. Be sure to let the person on the other end of the line know in which way the vehicle is heading.  

In addition to giving the operator details regarding your surroundings, you should also give him or her details about the vehicle itself. This part is important, as the police cannot stop a drunk driver if they do not know for what they are looking. Make note of the color, model and make of the vehicle if you can. If possible, read off the license plate number, as this is the most surefire way to ensure the officers stop the correct vehicle.

Finally, inform the officer of why you think the vehicle operator is impaired. Is the car swerving? Is it driving down the center of two lanes? Does the driver make erratic and abrupt stops and starts? Officers cannot stop someone without probable cause, so your description of the driver's actions is necessary.

This post is not meant to serve as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only. 

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