How to React to a Drunk Driver

ELI5: Negligence

Over one million people were arrested for drunk driving in 2016. And, unfortunately, that was only 1% of the problem: according to self-reported data, 111 million people got behind the wheel while intoxicated in 2016. If every person had refrained from drunk driving, over ten thousand lives would have been saved in 2016. Driving under the influence is also a problem that plagues Utah. In 2020 alone, Utah’s roads saw nearly 2,000 alcohol-related accidents. With the prevalence of drunk driving, it is imperative that you understand how to respond to a drunk driver in Utah.


Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD for short, was created specifically to prevent drunk driving through heavier consequences for impaired drivers. According to MADD, knowing the signs of a drunk driver and reporting them immediately can save a multitude of lives. Be on the lookout for drivers who are driving too fast or more than 10 mph under the speed limit.  An intoxicated driver may swerve across the road, straddle two lanes, or have trouble staying in their own lane. Impaired drivers may also drive abruptly: slamming on breaks or turning suddenly are also signs a person is driving under the influence.


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If you spot a drunk driver, take note of their license plate and any identifying information about the driver and their vehicle. Get as far away as you possibly can from a suspected drunk driver. Do not attempt to pass them or get around them. Since drunk drivers are much more likely to fall asleep at the wheel or lose control of their vehicle, you don’t want to be too close. Pull over as soon as you safely can and call 911. Make sure to tell the dispatchers which direction the car was headed.


If you were involved in a wreck with a suspected drunk driver, you need to make sure to look for signs of intoxication when they get out of the vehicle. A person who has been drinking may reek of alcohol, and you may be able to smell it on their breath. An intoxicated person may also smell like vomit, or they may even vomit at the scene of the accident. Alcohol can lower inhibitions, so pay close attention if the driver is excessively emotional. A person driving under the influence may also have glassy eyes, bloodshot eyes, or slurred speech.


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If you find yourself in a car crash with a suspected drunk driver, call 911 immediately. Make sure the person in the other car is not seriously injured. You should never admit fault, even if you have rear-ended the person. It’s also important that you do not say that you weren’t injured in the accident. Injuries may not appear until days after the accident. If injuries do appear, you’ll need to see a doctor and they may have you get an MRI, or an X-ray, as soon as possible. If you need additional compensation to pay for the medical expenses, you may need to contact a personal injury attorney. Personal injury attorneys typically offer free consultations. At Moxie Law Group, our experienced personal injury attorneys can walk you through your options during a free consultation. At Moxie Law Group, we’re committed to providing you with the support you need to keep you moving forward.

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