Accidents occur every day, the majority of them caused by one party’s negligence. Often times, the injured are people who were obeying traffic laws but were caught in the cross hairs of a driver who was distracted, drinking, or unable to control their vehicle. Drivers who drive at night are particularly susceptible to this kind of accident, as drunk drivers who are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are more likely to be out during the night time. Due to it being dark, visibility is even more poor than normal, thus increasing the chances of an accident.
Washington State Police have embarked on a campaign to take accidents related to drunk driving down to zero this year. Statewide sting operations are in place, and local law enforcement has taken extraordinary measures to take drunk drivers off the streets. Law enforcement agencies across the state are working together to try and accomplish this state goal. These inter-agency coordination efforts and increased enforcement of laws should, hopefully, reduce accidents in the State. While the cops are cracking down on illegal drinking and driving, civilians should also be able to identify and react to possible drunk drivers. We can identify these “threatening” drivers by following some of the techniques that law enforcement officers practice.
Walk the Line- Sobriety Tests
When a police officer pulls over a potential drunk driver, they have to establish probable cause for search. This is usually determined through the implementation of a sobriety test. These tests check the current capabilities of the driver, and also test their impairment level. One example of a sobriety test includes making the driver walk in a straight line for 9 paces heal-to-toe to check balance, and ability to follow instructions.
As a civilian, you can always be on the look-out for drivers who are walking in an unsteady manner, especially in the evenings and around local watering holes or restaurants. People who are impaired while walking, are certainly not going to be able to drive a car, that weighs thousands of pounds and moves at 60 miles per hour.
Follow the Magic Light
Police officers test the vision of a drunk driver suspect by moving an object in front of the suspects face side to side. This allows them to check the responsiveness of a driver to a moving object. Using a pen or flashlight the officer tests the eye motion of the driver while looking for jerkiness and any signs of struggle by the driver to follow the object. A clear indicator of impairment is someone who cannot smoothly and seamlessly follow the object.
Intoxicated individuals typically have trouble focusing and tend to move their heads in a jerky manner as they attempt to focus on objects.
As a civilian, this is a sign to watch for both at local bars, restaurants and also when you are driving. If you see a driver who appears to be unfocused, jerking their head from side to side, and being easily captivated by objects on the street, there is a good chance this driver is impaired. Driving near or by an impaired driver is dangerous, you should pull over and call law enforcement immediately.
Accidents can be prevented by taking simple steps to notice and observe key signals and signs from drivers around you. A good driver takes the time to notice what is going on and will quickly identify a car that is swerving, driving unsteadily, not keeping a consistent speed, or has a driver who is unfocused and distracted. Avoiding such drivers and ensuring that you pull over to call law enforcement could prevent your own accident, and could also save lives of others by preventing a car crash.
Andrew Miller is an experienced Social Media expert and Author. He has worked in marketing for over a decade and finds his passion in bringing concepts to life for the world to enjoy. He is also an avid blogger and currently working on a book with his wife about social entrepreneurship. He is a true Socialpreneur and finds that his goal in life is to be an agent for positive social change through both his writing and business endeavors.