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How to spot a drunk driver this summer

Summer is the time for sunshine, family vacations and fun with friends. It may not seem like a dangerous season, especially on the highway. However, one of the biggest hazards this time of year is motor vehicle accidents. In fact, July 4 has the highest number of deaths from motor vehicle crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

A significant contributing factor in these deadly collisions is alcohol. The CDC reports that in North Carolina, 1.4 percent of drivers are intoxicated. That percentage may seem small, but it equates to 1,400 drunk drivers per 100,000 vehicles. Whether you are taking a road trip or just going across town, watch out for these signs of drunk drivers on the road.

Inconsistent driving

The most obvious sign is erratic, unpredictable driving. This can include the following:

  •        Swerving
  •        Drifting into other lanes
  •        Nearly colliding with objects or vehicles
  •        Making odd maneuvers

Alcohol affects motor skills, so look for behaviors that sober drivers would not make under normal road conditions.

Speed problems

Some drunk drivers speed while on a high from drinking, but driving slowly is another sign. Drunk drivers may also be drowsy, not mentally present or worried about not drawing attention through speeding. In addition, their reaction times are slower.

Time of day

The majority of motor vehicle accidents occur over the weekend at the end of the day. This is when people are returning home from parties and vacations, which likely involved alcohol consumption. Stay off the road or be more vigilant at these times to lower your risk of getting into an accident with someone who is driving while intoxicated.

If you see a drunk driver, notify law enforcement. Do not respond with anger. If you are even partially responsible for an accident, you can lose your opportunity to seek financial compensation from the other party. Instead, do your part to stay safe on the road, and consult a personal injury attorney if a drunk driver crashes into you.

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