Dealing with an Intoxicated Driver at the Scene of an Accident

Getting into a car accident is stressful and complicated, but it can be even difficult if the other driver is intoxicated. Do you know what to do if this happens to you? Today, we want to talk about how to handle a situation like this so you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

Unfortunately, drunk driving crashes are not uncommon in the US or here in Tennessee. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that almost 30 people die each day in the US due to drunk driving, killing around, 10,000 people each year. During the latest reporting year in this state, there were nearly 6,000 known alcohol-related crashes.

Health comes first

In any crash, the number one thing to do is ensure everyone is okay and to call first responders to the scene. Ensure police are on the way so they can perform an investigation and complete an official accident report.

If you suspect the other driver is intoxicated, let the police know when you call. An intoxicated driver can make the task of keeping everyone safe much more complicated. Because it may take a few moments for police and fire officials to arrive, take the following steps at the scene.

  • Your health and safety are the priority. If the intoxicated driver is hurt, you can help them if you feel comfortable doing so. However, if you do not feel safe around an intoxicated driver, stay away from them until first responders arrive.
  • If the intoxicated driver tries to flee the scene, do not try to stop them. This is not the time for bravery, and you could get seriously hurt.
  • Lock yourself in your car if the intoxicated driver becomes aggressive. Call the police again, update them on the situation, and stay on the phone with them.

You should only begin to gather evidence and take photographs of the crash scene if it is safe to do so. Yes, preserving evidence is important, but your safety is more important. If the intoxicated driver was at-fault in the crash, they could get angry if you start taking photographs or video footage of them.

When police and first responders arrive, tell them again that you believe the other driver is intoxicated. They are the only ones who can make this determination. Police will conduct field sobriety tests and blood alcohol tests and place the driver under arrest if necessary.

You may not recognize impairment right away

In many cases, you will know right away that another driver is intoxicated. You may see visible signs of impairment, such as slurred speech, difficulty walking, or bloodshot eyes. However, not every who is drunk appears that way. Also, people can be impaired on substances other than alcohol, such as illegal or prescription drugs. This type of impairment can be harder to detect. Be cautious around any driver who causes a crash.

Get a copy of the accident report

You need to ask the police how to obtain an official copy of the accident report. This report should document the other driver’s impairment (if the police made that determination) and will help when it comes to working with insurance companies and adjusters. You may need to secure an experienced Tennessee car accident attorney to help you with your case.