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What to Do When You See a Drunk Driver

Imagine driving along a quiet rural road or deserted city street at night. Nothing seems wrong until you notice another vehicle on the road swerving into other lanes of traffic or speeding dangerously nearby. If you see this behavior, it’s important to know what to do to protect yourself and other drivers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol is involved in two-thirds of fatal crashes between midnight and 3 a.m., and more than 55% of drivers in these crashes were operating their vehicles while intoxicated. 

Learn what to do if you encounter a drunk driver in Wisconsin and how the attorneys at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can help if you suffer injuries due to a drunk driver’s negligence.

Is That Driver Drunk? What to Look For

An estimated four million U.S. adults admit to driving under the influence of alcohol each year, leading to over 110 million alcohol-related incidents. The CDC reports that 29 people die every day as a result of drunk driving. With so many drunk drivers on the road, identifying and reporting intoxicated drivers may save your life.

If you see the following behaviors, it may indicate a driver is under the influence of alcohol:

Drifting, Weaving, or Swerving

Alcohol consumption causes a decline in hand-eye coordination, leading to difficulty controlling the vehicle. This lack of control often manifests as weaving in and out of lanes or swerving to overcorrect after lane changes. If you see a driver crossing over double yellow lines or moving back and forth, they may be intoxicated.

Excessively High or Low Speeds

Alcohol lowers inhibitions and releases norepinephrine in the brain. This combination can lead to drivers making dangerous decisions, such as driving at high speeds or ignoring traffic signals.

Drowsiness caused by alcohol consumption or the desire to avoid police detection can lead to unusually low driving speeds, putting other drivers at risk. If you notice a car going exceptionally slow or speeding dangerously fast, the driver may have drunk alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

Forgetting to Use Headlights

Short-term memory recall is impaired by alcohol consumption which can sometimes mean drivers forget basic tasks like turning on their lights. Not using headlights at night poses a danger to other cars that can’t see the vehicle. It also further reduces the driver’s visibility. If you notice a car driving without headlights at night, the driver may be drunk.

Driving Unsafely

Drunk drivers often perform unsafe maneuvers when intoxicated. These behaviors can include:

-Driving on the wrong side of the road

-Ignoring traffic signals

-Making dangerous or wide turns

-Hitting vehicles or objects


Since alcohol lowers inhibitions and reduces the driver’s ability to control their vehicle, drunk drivers often take unnecessary risks or drive poorly. If you notice these signs in a driver, they may be intoxicated.

What to Do if You See a Drunk Driver

Once you’ve identified a drunk driver, taking the right actions can help prevent an accident. If you believe you’ve encountered a drunk driver, take the following steps to protect yourself and others:

  • Pull Over: As soon as you see a drunk driver, pull over to a safe place. Pulling over creates distance between you and the drunk driver, minimizing your odds of being involved in an accident. It also allows you to operate your phone safely and focus on speaking with the dispatcher.
  • Get Vehicle Description: If you can, note the make, model, color, and license plate number of the drunk driver’s vehicle. This information makes identifying the drunk driver easier for the dispatched officer.
  • Call 911: Once you pull over, call 911. Give the dispatcher your location, the vehicle description, and the driver’s behavior. The police can use your information to send an officer to the area to search for and pull over the drunk driver and get them off the road.

What to Do if You Are Injured in a Drunk Driving Collision?

If you are the victim of a drunk driving accident, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages. After receiving medical treatment for your injuries, contact a Wisconsin car accident lawyer at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Law.

Our attorneys can help you file a claim to receive a settlement from the drunk driver. We will investigate the accident to prove the driver was drunk and caused your injuries, including a police report that shows their blood-alcohol level and camera footage that proves they were driving erratically.

Contact Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers Today

Drunk driving accidents can result in significant injury and vehicle damage to victims. The attorneys at Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers can help you get the compensation you need for medical bills or lost wages resulting from a collision.

Our lawyers are skilled at protecting the rights of those injured by irresponsible drunk drivers. We will fight to get you a fair settlement for your or your loved one’s injuries.

Our personal injury lawyers will take the time to understand your situation, answer your questions and explain your next steps during your free consultation. Contact us today for a confidential, no-obligation appointment.

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