Driving safely isn’t just about following the traffic rules. Defensive driving has become increasingly essential to help you stay safe behind the wheel. If you spot another driver behaving recklessly, being able to determine whether that driver is intoxicated or hostile can help you choose smart responses to keep you and your family out of harm’s way.
Signs of road rage
A driver who is experiencing road rage will typically drive more aggressively and more intently. You may notice them:
- Aggressively weaving between lanes
- Driving at a high speed
- Passing on the right
- Behaving angrily: honking, yelling and rudely gesturing at other drivers
If you encounter someone like this on the road, it’s best to avoid eye contact. Do not engage with them, and allow them space. Dialing #77 will connect you with state police to report reckless driving.
Signs of impaired driving
By contrast, a drunk or drug-impaired driver will typically drive more carelessly than aggressively. You may notice them:
- Driving slowly and inaccurately
- Veering inadvertently into different lanes
- Failing to turn on their headlights at night
- Heading the wrong way down the road
- Bumping into things
- Driving or stopping when inappropriate or unexpected – such as stopping at a green light
If you see a drunk driver on the road, they may be slowing down traffic. It could be tempting to pass them, but this is risky since drunk drivers are likely to slide between lanes. It’s best to stay behind the driver and take note of the vehicle’s details – including make, model and color of the vehicle as well as the road and direction of travel. Call 9-1-1 to report this information as soon as it is safe to do so.
Encountering reckless drivers on the road can be scary. But recognizing the clues to understand their condition can help you to avoid an unnecessary accident.