Tuesday, December 30, 2003
What Would You Do: Dodging Drunk Drivers
There are around 20-thousand alcohol-related traffic accidents in Florida every year. But what do you do when you meet a drunk driver on the road? And could doing the wrong thing cost you your life? The Nightteam's Charles Perez with the answers.
(WSVN) -- We've all seen the tragic scenes. Someone senselessly killed by someone who should not have been behind the wheel.
"He's caused so much pain," says family member of a victim. "He doesn't know how much pain he's caused."
Around a thousand people die every year in Florida as the result of drunk driving accidents.
"Around the holidays people tend to drink more," says Palant, "and non-drinkers tend to become drinkers, to be social drinkers."
The bottom line is that whenever you're on the road with a drunk driver ... It's a life or death situation.
So what do you do? What do you look for? How do you know if you're sharing the road with a drunk driver?
"This is a classic drunk driver behavior, where someone will stop actually for a green light for quite some time," says Palant.
Pembroke Pines Police took us for a ride to show us what to look for ...
"Here's another thing," says Palant. "You'll see him hugging the left line ... He's swerving ... Look at this, he lost it. He came off the roadway."
Usually when that occurs, the drunk driver will over-compensate coming back on the roadway and cut across two, three, four lanes of traffic.
"When I see something like that I actually get a little scared," says Charles. "I don't want to get near the guy, but I also have an inclination to want to pass him and get on the other side."
"No, we ask that you not pass him," saysPalant. "We ask that you keep a safe distance... about six to seven car lengths."
Because, if you do try to pass ... Often an impaired driver will be attracted by your headlights and swerve into you.
Captain palant says by far, the worst case scenario: A drunk driver swerving into your lane.
"If you see a drunk driver coming at you ... the best thing is to get off the roadway as far as possible ... and turn your headlights off and leave your parking lights on," suggests Palant.
Again ... Get off the road ... Turn your lights off because a drunk driver will be attracted to your headlights.
What police do want you to do is call from your cell phone...
"I'm out on Pines Blvd. Right now… behind what I think is a drunk driver ... someone that's really swerving," says Charles in a dramatization.
... And help them get drunk drivers off the street.
"Call 9-1-1 on a cell phone and actually give them the description of the vehicle, the description of your vehicle and the direction of travel and location," says Palant, "but keep a safe distance away from the vehicle."
Police will dispatch an officer to track the drunk driver down.
And hopefully put the cuffs on before anyone gets hurt.
"It's very dangerous," says Palant. "People don't respect the damage that a vehicle can do."
And for anyone who is going to be drinking this holiday season or anytime ... What you should do is hand your keys to someone else.
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