More than 21 million vehicles are on Canada’s roads. That’s almost half the population on wheels, so it’s not surprising that some of those drivers will have had too much to drink before hitting the road. In fact, about 100,000 times a year an impaired driver is involved in a road incident in Canada.
Apart from not drinking and driving yourself – an obvious choice, but one not made often enough – what can you do to stem the tide?
You can remain vigilant. Drunk drivers can be spotted, if you know the signs. Drivers who have impaired reflexes, judgment and coordination make certain common errors:
- Too-wide turns
- Veering over the centre line, weaving and swerving
- Abrupt turns, often without signaling
- Slow response to red lights (sudden stops) and green lights (delay before proceeding)
- Nearly missing other cars, or hitting curbs
- Driving too slowly
If you see some of these signs while driving, you could be watching a drunk driver, and you should act. Impaired drivers are a danger to themselves and everyone on the road. Do not try to confront them yourself, however. Pull over to the side of the road and call 911. The police will need to know:
- The location of the car in question – road or street and cross streets
- The direction the car is going in
- The best description you can give – make, model, color, licence number if possible
- Describe why you think the driver is impaired
That’s it. Don’t try to follow or stop the driver – that’s what law enforcement is for. Once you’ve made the report, you’ve done your duty and helped to take a danger off the roads.