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Watch out for these signs of a drunk driver

Drunk drivers pose a serious threat on the roads of California. They put hundreds of people in the hospital, year in and year out, and drunk driving is one of the top reasons for fatal accidents.

Remember, you don't have to drink to get involved in a crash. All you have to do is share the road with someone who is intoxicated and irresponsible. A crash can happen in a split second.

There are some things you can do to avoid these drivers. For instance, DUI rates go up at night. The bars close in the early morning. More drinking happens on the weekends than during the week. If you avoid these times on the road, your odds of getting hit go down.

But what if you can't avoid driving? What if you have to chance it? Then you need to know what signs to watch out for so that you can spot an intoxicated driver and keep your distance. A few potential signs include:

  • Driving in the wrong lane
  • Driving on the centerline
  • Making erratic turns
  • Making wide turns
  • Sitting too close to the front window
  • Weaving within the lane or into the other lanes
  • Changing lanes without a signal
  • Driving too slow
  • Driving too fast
  • Nearly getting into an accident and only reacting at the last second
  • Making abrupt movements
  • Stopping without reason
  • Hitting the brakes long before a stop sign
  • Failing to react to traffic around them

In short, drunk drivers are going to look like they are barely in control of the car. They'll make decisions that do not make sense. If you find yourself wondering "What are they thinking?", then there is a good chance they are intoxicated. That's the heart of the problem. They're not thinking clearly at all.

What do you do when you spot this type of driver? Do not try to engage them. Keep your distance. Become a careful, defensive driver, focused on reacting quickly to someone else's mistakes.

If you have a passenger in the car with you, tell them to call 911. Tell the police where the car is, what it looks like and what license number it has, if you can see it. Do not put yourself at risk to get any of this information. Your best overall course of action is to stay far enough from the vehicle that there is no way that driver can hit you.

Accidents happen

Even when you focus on safety and when you know what signs to look for, accidents still happen. Make sure you are well aware of your legal rights to compensation if you get injured in an accident.

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