Imagine that you’re driving down the road and you spot someone swerving in his or her vehicle up ahead. Traffic flow helps you catch up to him or her, and when you watch that person drive for a few minutes, you become more and more certain that they’re driving while impaired. Looking around you, you notice that no one else is really paying attention, although some are moving away from the car as it moves from side to side in the lane. If you are pretty sure that the driver of the vehicle is drunk, why does no one else around you seem interested in reporting it?
It really boils down to changing a driver’s perception of the situation. Here are some common objections to calling in an impaired driver.
How do I know if the driver is impaired or if he or she is just a bad driver?
There are a lot of ways to tell if someone is driving impaired. The driver may do some of the following:
- Use wide turns
- Weave in and out of his or her lane
- Follow other vehicles too closely
- Brake or speed up erratically
- Drive with his or her headlights turned off
These could also indicate a bad driver behind the wheel, but why run the risk of trying to find out? Calling that person into the police only takes a few minutes, and then you give the police the opportunity to make the assessment as to whether or not they are impaired.
Should I call 911 to report an impaired driver?
There is a lot of debate over whether you need to call 911 or if you should call the non-emergency number when you spot an impaired driver, but you can rest assured the police want you to call 911. Look at it this way: someone driving impaired is a ticking time bomb waiting to crash, and by calling that person in, you could be responsible for stopping a crash before it happens.
There are a lot of reasons why people don’t report drunk drivers, and these reasons are why the RCMP purchase billboards, send out public service announcements, and use the media to ask the public to call in impaired drivers. If you spot an impaired driver, don’t hesitate: pull over somewhere safe and contact 911 as soon as possible.