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How can I tell if a driver is drunk?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | Auto Accidents |

You may be one of the safest drivers in New Hampshire, but you cannot control other drivers around you. Drunk drivers put everyone else on the road in danger.

Although drunk drivers can be around anytime, drunk drivers are more likely to be found late at night or around certain holidays that traditionally involve alcohol, such as New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day.

While you should avoid a drunk driver on the road at all costs, it can sometimes be hard to spot a drunk driver. Here are some common signs of a drunk driver.

Swerving or driving too slowly

Swerving is one of the most common signs of a drunk driver. It is usually what gives police officers reasonable suspicion to pull someone over on suspicion of drunk driving.

Alcohol affects focus and concentration, which makes it easy for a drunk driver to serve off the road or into another lane.

Drunk drivers sometimes know they are too drunk to drive and try to make up for it by driving slowly. However, this often results in braking too early and/or driving so slowly it puts others on the road in danger.

If you see a driver driving too slowly or constantly putting on their brakes, they might be drunk.

Tailgating or other traffic violations

Tailgating is another sign of a possible drunk driver. While sometimes tailgating is just a driver being rude, sometimes it is because the driver is drunk and purposely following too close behind another car to try to mimic their movements so they appear to be driving normally.

Other major signs include a driver committing serious traffic violations, such as driving with their headlights off, going the wrong way on a one-way road or using the wrong turn signals.

While none of these signs are solid proof that a driver is drunk, the driver is nonetheless engaging in poor driving and you should stay as far away from them as you can.

You can reduce your risk of an accident with a drunk driver by always driving defensively, particularly if you are driving late at night or on a holiday.

Your options after an accident with a drunk driver

Drunk driving is not only criminal, but it is also negligent. Although a drunk driver may be criminally liable, you can hold them civilly liable through a personal injury action.

Your losses from a drunk driving accident can be massive and include high medical bills, lost wages and extensive pain and suffering. You can recover compensation for your losses by proving the other driver was negligent.

New Hampshire follows a modified comparative negligence standard in personal injury lawsuits. This means your compensation could be reduced based on your own percentage of fault for the accident.

If your percentage of fault is 51% or more, you are barred from recovering compensation altogether. How could this happen if the other driver was drunk?

Although the other driver was negligent by driving drunk, they could argue that you were speeding or distracted. This could cause some of the blame to be shifted to you.

It is important to anticipate these types of defenses or arguments if you pursue a negligence claim against a drunk driver.