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Avoid drunk driving crashes by spotting intoxicated drivers

Many Illinois motorists frequently find themselves driving late at night due to their work schedules or type of employment. Although roads in Chicagoland tend to be less congested during the early morning hours, more drunk and intoxicated motorists also tend to be on the road at these times. These drivers make driving late at night extra-dangerous. It's important for late-night drivers to learn how to spot drunk drivers, so they can take evasive action to give these accident-prone motorists plenty of leeway.

Here's what to look for when spotting an intoxicated motorist:

Headlights that haven't been turned on: A dark car is especially difficult to spot, and when you see a car without its headlights turned on late at night, it's usually because the driver is intoxicated. Steer clear of these vehicles.

Making a sudden or illegal turn: Intoxicated drivers don't make decisions very well when navigating the roads. They may suddenly dart into traffic or make a turn without first assessing whether it's safe to do so. Sometimes, they'll drive right into the path of an oncoming car. Late at night, keep your eyes peeled for anyone that could suddenly dart in front of you and make sure you're ready to take evasive action.

Turning with an extra-wide radius: Drunk and intoxicated drivers can't judge distances very well and they may take extra-wide turns without any reason for doing so.

Near misses: Drunk drivers are horrible at giving people, cars and objects sufficient space. When drivers are especially drunk they tend to have lots of near misses before they actually crash.

Erratic acceleration and braking: Speeding up and suddenly slowing down in an attempt to appear "normal" by trying and failing to follow the flow of traffic is par for the course for intoxicated motorists.

Tailgating other drivers: Since they're bad at judging distance, drunk drivers may drive dangerously close to other motorists without any good reason for doing so. If someone is tailgating you late at night, speed up to leave them behind or slow down to let them pass -- whatever you do, don't risk letting them stick to your bumper like that. There's a good chance they'll drive into the back of your vehicle.

Driving with their faces close to their windshields: Drunk drivers will be trying so hard to focus and concentrate on the road, it will look like they've got their foreheads pressed to their windshields.

Inability to maintain a lane: Drifting, crossing traffic lines and swerving in the road is a sure sign of inebriation.

If you see a driver exhibiting any of the above signs, steer clear of the motorist, call 911 and report the driver immediately. Doing so could save you or someone else's life. Also, if you get hurt by a drunk driver, explore your legal options. Speak with an attorney to learn about holding the unlawful driver accountable for the damages that he or she has caused.

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