Drivers who operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol put other people’s lives in danger. The best way for other drivers to stay safe is to avoid an encounter with an impaired driver. Of course, that isn’t always possible.

By paying attention to the warning signs of a drunk driver, you may be able to protect yourself. If you know how to spot a drunk driver, you will be able to distance yourself from them.

Warning signs of an intoxicated driver

Those driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol might have a tough time operating their vehicle normally, thus creating a dangerous situation.

Here are 8 driver actions that indicate a driver is impaired:

  1. Following a vehicle too closely
  2. Weaving or zigzagging across the road
  3. Driving on a sidewalk or path that is not designed for vehicles
  4. Almost running into another vehicle or object
  5. Stopping without cause
  6. Delayed response to traffic signals
  7. Failing to use headlights at night
  8. Turning abruptly or illegally

If the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may show one or more of the above signs. No matter what, if you see a driver behaving dangerously, you should stay away from the driver if possible.

Do you suspect a driver is impaired?

Drunk drivers are hazardous, nearly one-third of all fatal accidents in the U.S. involve a drunk driver. Encountering an impaired driver is frightening and dangerous, here’s what you can do if you find yourself in that situation:

Step 1: Get away from the vehicle. Slow down, turn onto a different road or into a parking lot to distance yourself from the drunk driver.

Step 2: Note identifiable information on the vehicle. Look for the license plate number, make, model and color of the car.

Step 3: Notify local law enforcement. When you are able to do so, call the local police department or 911 and give dispatch the license plate number and vehicle description.

Your number one priority should be ensuring your safety. If you can safely avoid a drunk driver, then you can call the police to report your encounter to protect others.