Notice: Our staff is working without interruption during this time. Please do not hesitate to call, email or chat with us.
Call Today 505.219.2176
How to Identify, Avoid, and Report a Drunk Driver

How to Identify, Avoid, and Report a Drunk Driver

Vigilance is part of safe driving, which means you should always be looking out for hazards on the road. One of the most dangerous problems you can spot on the roadway is a drunk or drugged driver. By knowing how to identify individuals who are impaired by drugs and alcohol behind the wheel, you can keep yourself safe. You can also keep others safe by reporting drunk drivers to the proper authorities.

Signs of Impaired Driving

Impaired drivers will not behave the same as other drivers on the road. Someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol may:

  • Accelerate or decelerate quickly
  • Slam on the brakes without cause
  • Brake erratically
  • Tailgate other drivers
  • Weave or zig-zag across the road
  • Drift in and out of traffic lanes
  • Drive on the shoulder or a part of the road not meant for cars
  • Straddle the center lane marker
  • Make abrupt or illegal turns
  • Use turn signals that are inconsistent with driving actions
  • Respond slowly to traffic signals
  • Drive with their headlights off at night
  • Drive more than 10 mph below the speed limit
  • Drive on the wrong side of the road
  • Collide or nearly collide with other vehicles, objects, or curbs

If you see someone driving like this, stay as far away from their vehicle as possible.

Giving Space and Getting Information

It is safer to have a drunk driver in front of you than behind you. If you notice a drunk driver, stay behind their vehicle and do not try to pass or get the driver’s attention.

Instead, make a mental note about the vehicle’s make, model, and color, and try to memorize the license plate number. If you have a passenger with you, ask them to write the information down, but never compromise your safety while gathering intel about a drunk or drugged driver.

Do not break any laws to keep the vehicle in view nor follow the vehicle too closely. If the driver stops, do not try to get involved. Keep driving and alert the authorities when it is safe for you to do so.

Calling 911

When you’re ready, pull over or use your hands-free cell phone system to call 911. Let the dispatcher know where you saw the vehicle and which direction the driver was heading. Include the name of the road you are on, any nearby cross streets, and a complete description of the vehicle. Make sure you detail the dangerous driving you saw and indicate why you suspect the driver may be impaired.

Once the dispatcher has the information they need, they will hang up the call and send law enforcement to find – and hopefully detain – the drunk driver. Finish your journey carefully and know that your actions may have saved a life.

Drunk Busters

If you don’t feel comfortable calling 911, the New Mexico Department of Transportation's ENDWI Campaign has a special hotline called Drunk Busters, where you can report drunk drivers.

You can call using the toll-free hotline, 877-394-4258 (877 DWI Halt) and the cellphone key #394 (#DWI).

Read our blog, “Reporting Drunk Drivers,” for more information on how to report a drunk driver.

Handling an Accident

Anytime you witness a drunk driving accident, pull over and dial 911 immediately. Stay nearby until police arrive and volunteer your statement to the responding officers.

If you are involved in a crash due to the negligent behavior of a drunk driver, check yourself and your passengers for injuries and dial 911. Be sure to indicate any serious injuries to the dispatcher and wait for help to arrive. When the police arrive, answer all their questions honestly and indicate your belief that the driver is impaired. Ask for a copy of the police report and accept medical treatment if you need it.

Drunk driving is illegal in all 50 states, and drunk drivers often face both civil and criminal consequences. The driver – or their insurance policy – will likely be responsible for your medical bills, missed wages, and other damages.

When you’re ready to recover the compensation you’re entitled to, Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law is here to help.

Call us at (505) 219-2176 or contact us online to request a consultation – we do not charge any fees unless we win your case.


Contact Michael J. Doyle

Get Started With a Free Initial Consultation
    • Please enter your first name.
    • Please enter your last name.
    • Please enter your email address.
      This isn't a valid email address.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.