Every time you get behind the wheel of a car to drive along a West Virginia roadway, you are obligated to adhere to all traffic laws and safety regulations. The same goes for any and all other drivers with whom you may share the road at any given moment. The problem is that, no matter how alert and cautious you are, there may be little to nothing you can do about another driver’s behavior.
How many times has someone cut you off at a merge point or followed too closely behind you in traffic? Perhaps another driver who seems to be placing you at risk is normally a good driver but is late for work or has been momentarily distracted. Such issues increase the chance for collisions. Do you know how to recognize signs that a driver might be intoxicated? Your awareness might be the key to averting a disaster.
Drunk drivers have trouble adjusting speed
When you drive, you know how to adjust your vehicle speed to adhere to posted speed limit and to coincide with current traffic patterns. For instance, if there is something happening on the road that has caused traffic to slow down, you can apply your brakes or take your foot off the gas to keep from hitting the vehicles in front of you.
If a driver is acting under the influence of alcohol, he or she might be traveling at erratic speeds, meaning randomly applying brakes or suddenly stepping on the gas pedal. Should you witness a vehicle that appears to moving in ways that do not match traffic flow, it’s a good idea to be especially cautious because the driver might be drunk.
Additional causes for concern
A person who gets behind the wheel to drive while intoxicated might have impaired depth perception. Alcohol often has this effect on people. If you see a driver who appears to be leaning toward his or her windshield, tightly gripping the steering wheel, and sitting at the far edge of the driver’s seat, it’s a definite sign that he or she might be drunk.
If you notice a vehicle swerving, taking bends far too widely or coming dangerously close to curbs or parked vehicles, it also suggests driver intoxication. Such issues place you and any other travelers nearby at great risk for injury.
If a crash occurs
If you witness suspicious driving behavior, you might be able to distance yourself from the vehicle in question. In the past, many West Virginia drivers have pulled off the road to dial 911 and report such problems, which allows dispatchers to send patrol officers to the scene to check things out. There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to exit a roadway in a swift or safe enough manner, however.
A drunk driver might lose control of steering at any time. If you suffer injuries in a collision that a person caused through negligence or recklessness, the road to recovery might be long and arduous. Such incidents often result in physical and emotional trauma and may create serious financial distress, which is why state law allows recovering accident victims to seek restitution for damages.