driver training, driving tips, Motoring News, road safety

Drunk drivers: How to spot them – and what to do if you do

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Gauteng has gained notoriety as the province with the most cases of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and is one of the few to have seen an increase in such statistics.

Eugene Herbert, MD of MasterDrive, says extensive efforts to educate and encourage drivers to avoid mixing alcohol with driving has made no difference.

“We shouldn’t reduce our efforts to reduce the number of impaired drivers but we can improve efforts to help other road users avoid them.”


So, in self-defence, here are some tips to identify drivers who may have used drugs or be on the way home from the pub.

  • A driver weaving in their lane or hugging the centre line: increase following distance and immediately put distance between yourself and the suspect.
  • The eyesight of an inebriated driver will be affected so avoid travelling in front of such.
  • Such a driver might tailgate to use your car for guidance; a rear-ender is possible. Conversely, don’t follow an apparently drunk driver – especially on a freeway at speed. Such a driver might brake unnecessarily – hard and suddenly.
  • Some impaired drivers might overcompensate by driving too slowly for the conditions; also, pay extra attention as the situation approaches a junction or 4-way stop. The driver’s muddled thought might make an error such as stopping for a green light or not seeing the 4-way.
  • Increase the distance between yourself and the suspect on a single-lane road rather  than try to pass.
  • Do not engage with a drunk driver – rather focus on staying well away.
  • Call the authorities as soon as it is safe to do so.

”While we may not be as successful at reducing the number of impaired drivers as we hoped,” Herbert said, ”we can train ourselves to react if one is encountered.”

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