This Holiday Season, don’t drink and drive, is a message that has been delivered to us for as long as I can remember. Considering the benefits of the impaired driving educational campaigns had already started paying off in the late ‘90s, we are talking about at least 20 years of education.

While listening to the radio the other morning, a Drink Responsibly ad came on, and I found myself stunned by the announcement that 40% of fatal accidents are alcohol-related. After hitting Google for some further information, I came across more stats that supported this. MADD Canada states that crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs are a leading criminal cause of death in Canada; with an average of 4 deaths each day.

Being part of the trucking industry, and working for a company, which places a high priority on the safety of the roadways for everyone, we have put together some tips to help you avoid the dangers of impaired drivers’ this holiday season.

Signs of Drunk Driving

First, it is important to know the common signs of drunk driving:

  • Quick acceleration or deceleration
  • Tailgating
  • Weaving or zigzagging across the road
  • Driving anywhere other than on a road designated for vehicles
  • Almost striking an object, curb, or vehicle
  • Stopping without cause or erratic braking
  • Drifting in and out of traffic lanes
  • Signalling that is inconsistent with driving actions
  • Slow response to traffic signals (e.g. sudden stop or delayed start)
  • Straddling the centre lane marker
  • Driving with headlights off at night
  • Swerving
  • Driving slower than ten mph below the speed limit
  • Turning abruptly or illegally
  • Driving into opposing traffic on the wrong side of the road

Some of these signs are more obvious than others, but it probably won’t take you long to determine if someone has just had a momentary lapse in driving ability or is driving impaired.

What to Do if You See a Drunk Driver

  1. Give them plenty of room and stay alert to their movements. Remember impaired drivers tend to hit the brakes, so make sure you have a sufficient following distance.
  2. Don’t try to pass the suspected impaired driver or try to signal for them to pull over. Doing either of these things increase your chances of being involved in a collision with the impaired driver.
  3. If you are in heavy traffic with an impaired driver find an escape route that removes you from harm’s way.
  4. Take notice of the license plate number along with details about the vehicle including make, model and colour. Don’t compromise your safety to get this information. It is also good to know, not only what road you are on, but which miles marker or cross streets, so that police can easily find them.
  5. Contact 911 to report the impaired driver.

Arrive at Your Destination Safely

Being a good driver is not only developing good driving habits and being safe on the roadways, it is knowing how to recognize and avoid dangerous drivers who you share the roadways with. This holiday season, we wish for everyone to arrive at their destinations safely. If you are going to be drinking, please be responsible and have a designated driver, call a cab or call Operation Red Nose to get you home safe and sound.