Sometimes the signs aren’t quite this obvious. Uber, Lyft, or a taxi is always a better decision that letting someone who is clearly inebriated get behind the wheel. What should you look for to make sure you’re not being escorted by someone who is too legally impaired to be driving?
Of course, there are the telltale signs. These include smelling of alcohol, poor coordination, slurred or deliberate speech, bloodshot eyes, and changes in behavior, such as quickly going from happy to angry, repeating one’s self, or loud singing or talking. Also, if your driver talks at an inappropriate speed or volume (typically faster and louder than normal), they have probably been imbibing.
If you see the signs, there are ways you can determine whether or not it’s safe to ride with this driver. You can ask them to repeat back to you a question you just asked. Most people who are drunk have poor short-term recall. You can ask them to recite the alphabet, touch their nose with their finger, or walk a straight line. Failing any of these requests is a pretty good indication they are unsafe behind the wheel.
Fortunately, we all have technology at our fingertips that can help us better make that determination. iPhones have an app called Back Track that monitors the ‘horizontal gaze nystagmus,’ which is basically a tremor in the eye caused by drinking alcohol. The app picks up this movement. While not a conclusive test, at just $1.99 it’s a reliable, economical predictor of impairment. Android phones have their own version called DUI kNOw. This is a free app that analyzes speech patterns. The app provides several random texts to read and a backward counting test. Another way to determine if your driver is too drunk to drive is to have them play a driving simulator on your phone or tablet. There are hundreds of these types of apps available, and they all require quick reaction time to be successful at the game.
While it may seem awkward to have to ask these questions or have someone perform these tests, it could save your life. Particularly for those people who are chronic drinkers, they can hold their alcohol quite well and know how to hide the smell and some of the more the obvious signs. That’s why the technology mentioned above is so important. It’s impossible to suppress tremors in the eye caused by alcohol impairment or improve reaction times to win at a driving simulation game when drunk, even if he or she can hide the smell with breath mints or avoid conversation to conceal altered speech.
If you suffer at the hands of a drunk designated driver, it’s important to seek medical attention and the advice of proven, trial-tested personal injury attorneys like those at Fernandez & Hernandez Attorneys At Law. You can reach them for advice 24/7 by calling 813.755.9500. Hablan español.