If you’re driving down the road and see someone driving carelessly, it’s important to be able to make an educated assessment of the cause of their behavior. Is it a case of road rage or drunk driving? Knowing the difference can help you determine how best to respond to keep yourself safe.
Indicators of road rage
A driver experiencing road rage exhibits aggressive behavior. The driver may:
- Weave back and forth between lanes
- Tailgate other drivers
- Drive above the speed limit
- Pass on the right
- Exhibit anger through honking, yelling and rude gestures
If you encounter such a driver on the road, you should do everything you can to disengage. Do not make eye contact or act argumentative. Give them space to pass you, and distance yourself from them as much as possible. You can report cases of aggressive driving by dialing #77 or calling 9-1-1.
Indicators of drunk driving
While aggressive driving tends to be quick and calculated, drunk – or otherwise impaired – driving is generally slower and less precise. Drunk drivers often:
- Drive below the speed limit
- Drive without their headlights on – if driving at night
- Drift aimlessly back and forth between lanes or into the shoulder
- Bump into other obstacles on the road
- Make excessively wide turns
- Drive the wrong way down the street
- Fail to appropriately follow traffic rules – e.g., stop at green lights or coast through red lights
If you spot a drunk driver on the road, stay behind the vehicle. If you try to pass, you could make yourself a target for an accident. Call 9-1-1 to report the drunk driver, making sure to provide a complete description of the vehicle (including license plate number), the street they’re on and their direction of travel.