A crash with a drunk driver can happen without warning. It doesn’t matter if you had the right of way or if you were driving safely; a drunk driver is a chaotic force on the road that can crash into anybody. While you may not be able to avoid these accidents, you should know how to handle a crash with a drunk driver.
Identifying a Drunk Driver
If the accident wasn’t a sudden surprise, you should ask yourself whether the other vehicle was moving suspiciously in the moments before the crash. Determining whether the other driver was intoxicated will determine your next steps.
Some of the most identifiable signs of drunk driving include:
- Rapid, jolted braking.
- Swerving across lanes or struggling to stay in one place
- Driving too close to the lines
- Veering toward oncoming lights
- Running red lights and stop signs or making significant driving errors.
If you suspect the other driver is intoxicated, you need to report them to the police. Don’t feel bad if your feeling is wrong. It’s better to get an officer on the scene. Not only will you have a police report (a crucial piece of evidence), but you have the opportunity to have a potential drunk driver detained, preventing them from driving away and endangering others.
Meeting the Drunk Driver
In some cases, you will not realize the other driver is intoxicated until you get out of the car and attempt to exchange information. If the other driver is slurring, struggling to keep their balance, smells of alcohol, or if they are otherwise clearly intoxicated, you should call the police, even if it’s not a severe crash.
Dealing with a drunk driver is difficult because there is no way to know how they’re going to respond. Some intoxicated people will default to a confused state, others will be remorseful and emotional, and a handful may turn aggressive and violent. There is no way to know what will happen until the moment you step out of your vehicle.
If the other driver is calm, do your best to keep them at the scene of the crash until police arrive. Keep them talking and try to get their insurance information if you are able. If they are unwilling to give you their information, remember that it will be recorded in the police report. Keeping them talking is merely a formality to prevent the drunk driver from leaving the scene before police arrive.
If the intoxicated driver is aggressive, violent, or otherwise escalates the situation, you need to get to safety and wait for the police to arrive. If the other driver attacks you, you can either get in your car and lock the doors (if it is safe to do so) or attempt to enter a nearby building.
If the other driver turns aggressive, it is better to protect yourself than to keep them at the scene. If they get in their vehicle and attempt to drive away, you should call 911 again and report their license plate, a description of their car, and the direction they are traveling. After that, stay where you are and let the police handle it from there. Attempting to follow the other driver only puts you in danger.
Once you have a police report, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you talk to an attorney and begin collecting evidence, the better your chances of pursuing justice.
When you hire an attorney, they can review all of the evidence surrounding your case, including the police report, the damages, and a calculation of your current and future medical bills. Often, choosing the right attorney to handle your case can be the difference between a difficult recovery and getting the compensation you need to move forward.
To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Virginia car accident attorney from Portner & Shure, P.A., don’t hesitate to call (855) 954-4141 or send us an email.