How to Spot Warning Signs of a Drunk Driver

Recognizing a drunk driver on the road is crucial for ensuring your safety and the safety of others. Drunk driving poses a serious threat to countless lives. Being able to spot warning signs of a drunk driver enables you to take appropriate action, such as alerting the authorities or maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle. In this blog post, we will discuss key indicators that can help you identify a potentially impaired driver. By understanding the signs of erratic driving behavior, poor vehicle control, and visible signs of intoxication, you can make a significant difference in preventing accidents caused by drunk driving.

Erratic Lane Changes and Swerving

Drunk Driver

A drunk driver often displays erratic lane changes and swerving as they struggle to maintain a steady course and make sudden movements between lanes. Intoxicated drivers may drift or straddle the center line. Repeated lane changes without signaling are common indicators of a drunk driver.

Excessive Speed or Slow Driving

Impaired drivers may exhibit extreme variations in speed due to impaired judgment and slower reaction times. Some may excessively speed, while others drive significantly slower due to alcohol impairing their speed and distance judgment. Both excessive speed and slow driving are red flags indicating potential drunk driving.

Frequent Braking or Stopping

A drunk driver may exhibit frequent and unnecessary braking or stopping behavior due to impaired judgment of distance and time. This can result in abrupt stops or unnecessary braking, even without obstacles or traffic conditions. It is crucial to maintain a safe distance and exercise caution when observing such behavior.

Drifting or Straddling Lane Markings

Drunk drivers often struggle to maintain their position within the lane. They may drift or straddle the lane markings, indicating a lack of vehicle control. If you notice a vehicle consistently drifting or straddling lane markings, it is important to exercise caution and maintain a safe distance.

Tailgating and Inconsistent Following Distance

Impaired drivers may display aggressive or inconsistent behavior in terms of following distance, frequently tailgating or failing to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. Their impaired judgment and slowed reaction times make it challenging for them to judge appropriate distances and respond promptly to changing traffic conditions. Observing tailgating or frequent changes in following distance suggests that the driver may be under the influence and can pose a threat on the road.

Inconsistent Signaling and Turning

Impaired drivers often have difficulty signaling their intentions and executing turns correctly. They may forget to use their turn signals or use them inconsistently. Additionally, they might turn abruptly without providing adequate notice to other drivers. Inconsistent signaling and turning behavior can indicate impaired cognitive function and compromised motor skills. If you notice a vehicle displaying inconsistent or absent signaling, exercise caution and maintain a safe distance.


Spotting warning signs of a drunk driver is crucial for maintaining road safety. By paying attention to indicators such as erratic lane changes, excessive speed or slow driving, frequent braking or stopping, drifting or straddling lane markings, tailgating and inconsistent following distance, and inconsistent signaling and turning, you can take appropriate action to protect yourself and others on the road. Remember, if you suspect a driver is impaired, it’s essential to prioritize your safety and report the situation to the authorities promptly.

Townes and woods offers legal advice for individuals affected by drunk driving. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our office.