How Can You Report a Drunk Driver in North Carolina?

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You do everything possible to be a safe driver. However, other people don’t always take the same precautions. Without intervention, a drunk driver could cause a collision.

At Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys, we believe that you should know how to report a drunk driver. You also need to know how you can protect yourselves and your loved ones. If a DUI driver causes an accident, contact our Wilmington drunk driving accident attorneys to pursue a claim.

How to Report a Drunk Driver

There are three different ways that you can report a drunk driver. The simplest method is to call 911. You can also call the North Carolina Highway Patrol by dialing either *HP(47) or (800) 622-7956.

Additionally, you can use the Wilmington, NC Police Department app. The app allows you to leave an anonymous tip. This can be helpful if you know the motorist. One of your friends or colleagues may leave an event after having too much to drink. If this person refuses to take a cab, you might need to report them so they don’t cause an accident.

Supporting details

When you report a drunk driver, you should provide as much information as possible. This includes the following details:

  • The make and model of the vehicle
  • The license plate number
  • The driver’s actions
  • Nearby intersections

You should also say which direction the driver is heading. These details help authorities intercept this motorist as soon as possible. Additionally, tell the authorities what kind of erratic behavior you witnessed.

While you make your report, it’s important to take your own safety precautions. If you’re alone in your car, use your phone in a hands-free manner. When you have a passenger, this person should make the phone call or use the app. Your passenger could also take a picture of the car.

What Happens When You Report a Drunk Driver

Members of law enforcement act immediately when you report drunk driving. They use the information you gave them to find the vehicle and pull the driver over.

Authorities need to verify that someone is intoxicated. They usually administer field sobriety tests and could also perform a breathalyzer test. If the driver’s blood alcohol content is above 0.08%, authorities will likely charge this person with drunk driving. They could also impound the vehicle.

How To Avoid a Collision With a Drunk Driver

When you encounter a drunk driver, you should take steps to protect yourself. Knowing the signs of intoxicated driving can help you avoid an accident.

Common actions

A drunk motorist might exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Tailgating
  • Drifting between lanes
  • Stopping suddenly
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Ignoring traffic signals

Additionally, drunk drivers may almost collide with the curb. They could also drive on the sidewalk or the median.

Methods of protection

When you see a car maneuvering in these ways, there are several precautions you can take. One is to keep your distance from the other car. If there are several car lengths between you and the other vehicle, you can slow down when you see erratic behavior. You can also stop in time if the driver brakes suddenly.

Additionally, you should watch a driver’s signals. Intoxicated motorists may signal that they will turn one way and then perform a different action. When you maintain distance from the driver, you can observe the signals and the driver’s behavior. This allows you to maneuver away from the vehicle.

If you are on the highway when you see an intoxicated motorist, you should turn off your cruise control. This allows you to react quickly to a hazardous situation.

Sometimes, you may need to report someone drunk driving behind your vehicle. When you see the motorist tailgating or swerving, you can move to another lane. Sometimes, the best course of action could be to turn off the road.

Receive Help After Reporting Drunk Driving

Our attorneys understand that knowing how to report a drunk driver is only the first part of avoiding a collision. Intoxicated motorists behave erratically. Despite your best efforts to protect yourself, a drunk driver might collide with your car. You and your passengers could sustain injuries and your vehicle might require costly repairs. When this happens, you shouldn’t need to handle the situation by yourself.

Contact the team at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys today. We offer a free case consultation so you can learn about the options available to you.

FAQs About Reporting a Drunk Driver

Should you always report drunk driving?

Driving while intoxicated is a serious offense and you may feel uneasy about reporting someone. People might drive erratically for several reasons. They might feel fatigued, for example. You may not want to report someone if you aren’t sure they are drunk.

However, any kind of irresponsible driving poses a risk to other people on the road. Reporting a driver allows members of law enforcement to intervene before someone gets hurt. If the other motorist is not drunk, this person will learn that they need to drive carefully.

Do you have to go to court if you report a drunk driver?

A court appearance depends on how you reported the driver. When you leave an anonymous tip, the authorities cannot trace the tip back to you. They cannot contact you to ask if you will make a court appearance.

If you called the authorities and gave them your name and phone number, they could ask you to testify. However, you may be able to decline.

Can you report drunk driving the next day?

It is usually best to report a drunk driver as soon as possible. This allows the authorities to catch the motorist before someone gets hurt. However, this may not always be possible. If you are alone in your car, it may be unsafe for you to make a phone call or use the WPD app. If you are on the highway, you might be unable to pull over.

In these situations, you can report the motorist when you reach your destination or even the next day. However, delaying too long could make it difficult for the authorities to find the driver.

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