What does it mean when a man calls to report himself as a drunk driver?
It happened recently in Ontario. A 55-year-old man pulled onto the shoulder of a highway, called the police then waited for them to pick him up – which they did.
So what was going through his mind? Obviously it all began with that bad decision that so many people make – to get behind the wheel despite being drunk. But why the change of heart? Why not just try to make it home somehow?
At some point, the man must done an inventory of the effects that alcohol was having on his system. He would have discovered:
- He was drowsy. What if someone steps in front of his car when he nods off?
- His vision was distorted. Impaired vision makes it difficult to judge distances and speeds or see cars in other lanes.
- His hearing was weakened. That would make it harder to hear road sounds and oncoming traffic.
- His coordination was off. That could cause a lot of problems, from premature braking and sloppy turning to poor control of the car.
- He might even have been close to unconsciousness, which on the road could have been a disaster.
This story ends differently from many because the driver realized some or all of these things, concluded that he was a danger, and decided that an arrest was better than the risk of killing himself, or someone else.
Ontario has pretty strong DUI laws, mandating suspensions and fines for drunk driving. It is likely the offender will be required to use an ignition interlock, which prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has alcohol on his or her breath.
This driver was fortunate to make the connection and pull over before causing a lethal crash. Not every driver has what it takes to make that decision. We wish him luck, and a life of alcohol-free driving from now on.