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A statewide effort by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol to cut down on impaired driving during the holiday season is underway. North Carolina is one of 39 states which allow for sobriety checkpoints, where police officers can stop drivers to check for drunk driving. If law enforcement has reason to suspect a driver has been drinking, they can order a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer.

While long-term trends for drunk driving nationwide show a decline, North Carolina has seen a slight increase over the last few years. North Carolina was ranked as the seventh worse state for drunk driving in 2018. Last year more than 400 people died on our state’s highways because of impaired driving.

Possible signs of drunk driving

When you’re out on the roads this holiday season, keep an eye out for the following warning signs that a fellow motorist may be impaired.

  • Tailgating
  • Making illegal turns
  • Slow response to traffic signals
  • Braking or accelerating erratically
  • Driving without headlights at night
  • Making illegal, wide or abrupt turns
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Not staying inside the lane, whether weaving, swerving or drifting

Call 911 If you think you see a driver who appears to be driving haphazardly. Provide the location of the vehicle, including the name of the street or cross-streets and the direction the vehicle is traveling. Give the 911 dispatcher a description of the vehicle including the make, model, color and license plate. Also, pull over or distance yourself from the driver.

The holidays are in full force now. If you’re going to head out for a night of merry-making, it’s essential to plan a sober ride in advance of the holiday celebration.