Public Education

Protecting Yourself

Be a part of the solution, and make your community safer by working to prevent alcohol-impaired and drugged driving. The following suggestions can help protect you and your family:

  • Never ride in a car with someone who is intoxicated. Find another way to get home or wherever you need to go and consider all transportation alternatives, such as a taxi or public transportation.
  • When entertaining, be a responsible host. Encourage sensible drinking by serving non-alcoholic drinks, serving food or light hors d’oeuvres and never give alcohol to anyone under 21.
  • Use the designated driver system when enjoying a night out with friends.

Protect yourself against other drivers. Wear your safety belt, and make sure passengers buckle up and children are properly secured in child safety seats.

How to Detect a Potentially Impaired Driver

  • Driving too slow or too fast for conditions.
  • Crossing the center line repeatedly.
  • Making wider turns than necessary.
  • Signaling inconsistent with driving.
  • Swerving, weaving or drifting between lanes and the sides of the road.
  • Accelerating and braking rapidly.
  • Turning abruptly or illegally.
  • Stopping without cause.
  • Driving with the headlights off at night or failing to dim high beams.
  • Responding slowly to traffic signals (sudden stops, delayed starts).
  • Driving into opposing traffic.
  • Driving too closely to other vehicles or objects.

If You Believe a Driver is Impaired, DO NOT:

  • Follow too closely as the driver may stop suddenly.
  • Attempt to follow the vehicle if it is dangerously exceeding the speed limit, going somewhere you don’t usually go, or if hazardous driving conditions exist.
  • Ignore traffic signals to keep the driver in view.
  • Concentrate so hard on following the impaired driver that you become a hazard to other traffic.
  • Attempt to stop the vehicle.
  • Attempt to restrain the driver if the vehicle stops.
  • Take matters into your own hands, unless you are law enforcement, fire, or emergency medical personnel.
  • Assist the arresting officer unless requested.

How to Report an Impaired Driver:

  • Pull off the road to a safe area and call 911 or local law enforcement.
  • Tell them you wish to report a suspected impaired driver.
  • Describe how the vehicle is being driven — be specific.
  • Describe the vehicle in detail– vehicle type, color, make/model, license plate number and/or other distinguishing features.
  • Give the exact location including road, direction traveling, and mile marker (if applicable).

How to Get the Keys and Save Someone’s Life

If someone you know has been drinking and attempts to get behind the wheel. Here are some tips for getting the keys away from him or her and possibly saving a life:

  • Take the person aside and calmly, quietly suggest that he or she has had too much to drink and it would be better if someone else drove, or offer to call a taxi.
  • Be calm. Try to make it sound like you are doing this person a favor.
  • If it is somebody you don’t know well: Ask his or her friends help persuade the person to hand over the keys.
  • If you got a ride with this person, tell him or her that you are not going with them if they insist on driving. Suggest that you will call for another ride, take a taxi, or walk.
  • If the person will not listen to reason, locate the car keys and take them away. Most likely, the person will think the keys were lost and will be forced to find another mode of transportation.
  • If possible, avoid being confrontational and embarrassing the person in front of others.

To learn more about how you can be part of the solution to this problem, please contact your local AAA club or check out AAA’s defensive driving programs, which feature expanded content about the risks of drinking and driving. Visit to find a course near you.