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THE SAFETY ZONE | TODAY'S TIP

How to Spot --and Avoid--Drunk Drivers

June 28, 1999

Drunk drivers, the most dangerous violators of traffic safety, contribute to almost half of all highway deaths. After midnight, one out of every 10 highway drivers is impaired. It's worse during holidays. Look for these warning signs to spot a drunk driver:

* Unusually wide turns

* Straddling the center land or lane marker

* Weaving or swerving

* Sudden stops

* Tailgating

* Abrupt or illegal turns

* Rapid acceleration

* No headlights at night

* Nearly hitting a car or object

* Drifting

* Slow response to traffic signals

* Driving in the wrong direction.

What you should do:

* Maintain a safe distance. Don't try to pass; the drunk driver might swerve into you.

* If a drunk driver is behind you, turn right at the nearest intersection so the car can pass you.

* If the drunk driver is coming head-on, move right to the shoulder and stop. Use your horn and lights to get his or her attention.

* When approaching an intersection, especially after midnight, slow down and expect the unexpected.

* Use your seat belts and shoulder restraints, and keep your doors locked.

* Get the drunk driver's license number, get to a phone, and report it to the police.

Do you know all your neighbors? Community involvement can be crucial in cutting crime. Here are some questions police suggest you ask yourself.

* Do you watch your neighbors' homes when they are away?

* Do your neighbors watch your home when you are away?

* Do you and your neighbors work together on neighborhood problems?

* If you hear or see something suspicious, do you call the police?

* Do you talk to the youth in your neighborhood?

Source: Insurance industry; Fullerton Police Department

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