Signs of Intoxication: How to Spot Drunk Drivers on the Road

hurt by a drunk driver


If asked directly, most of us would emphatically say that we would never get behind the wheel while we were intoxicated. But in 2015 alone, nearly 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol — and it’s likely that millions more have driven drunk but have not been arrested for doing so. When someone you know has been involved in a drunk driving accident, you probably take the risks a lot more seriously. But even if you never drive drunk, you could still be injured in a crash (or worse) by someone who does. If you want to potentially reduce your risk of being hurt by a drunk driver, you may find this post helpful.

Common Signs of Driving While Intoxicated

Law enforcement officers and traffic safety organizations have compiled extensive lists of behaviors that tend to be exhibited by intoxicated drivers. These signs may include:

  • Failure to stay within one’s lane
  • Sudden acceleration or braking
  • Traveling at inappropriate speeds (under or over the limit)
  • Over-correction of steering
  • Jerky, wide, or sudden turns
  • Slow reactions to traffic signal changes
  • Failure to turn on headlights
  • Use of wrong turn signals or no use of them at all
  • Excessive tailgating
  • Illegal or erratic driving maneuvers
  • Driving while sitting closely to the windshield


These are by no means the only signs of intoxicated driving, but they are among the most obvious. Being able to recognize these signs can allow you to reduce the likelihood of being hurt by a drunk driver. A Portland drunk driver accident lawyer can further assist you in these matters.

What To Do If You Suspect a Motorist is Driving Drunk

Whether the motorist is actually intoxicated or is simply a terrible driver, you’ll want to stay away. Keep your distance from the vehicle and position yourself to the rear of their car. Not only will this keep you in control of how close they can get to you, but it’ll also make it easier to provide identifying details to police. Do not attempt to confront them or to make a citizen’s arrest. If you can safely do so, call 911 to provide the license plate and vehicle description, as well as any behaviors that made the driver stand out. You’ll also want to give an approximate location and the direction in which the driver is heading. Your safety is the number one priority here, however; do not engage in any activities that would put yourself or others in danger (such as distracted driving).

What To Do If You’re Hurt By a Drunk Driver

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to spot a motorist who’s under the influence. You may be involved in a drunk driving crash before you even figure out what’s about to happen. But if you are hurt by a drunk driver’s reckless actions, it’s important to seek out medical attention and to contact a lawyer right away. Your attorney will protect your rights and explore every avenue to ensure justice is served in your case.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a crash, we’re here to help. For more information, contact our personal injury attorneys today.