Q: What should you do if you see a person who appears to be drunk getting into a car to drive?


A: I do not advocate direct intervention. You never know how an intoxicated person will react. Instead, call 911 and give the authorities as many details as possible: the make of the car, the license number, location, direction the car is headed and a description of the driver.

If you do decide to intervene, it’s better if other people are nearby to potentially help. Approach the driver from a comfortable distance, and have an even tone and normal volume voice. Say, “Hello, do you feel that you’re OK to drive? I can arrange a cab or Uber if not.” Or, “Hi, I know it may not be my business, but if you had too much to drink, you should wait a few hours before driving. Can I help you get a cab?”

If the person becomes argumentative, leave and call the police.

CRAIG NELSON, general manager of DWI School of Chicago


A: Engaging an impaired driver can be hazardous. An intoxicated person can go from being very nice to very angry in seconds. Try to keep at least 20 feet between you and the intoxicated driver.

Suggesting that they are not able to drive safely usually doesn’t hold much sway; drunks have a misguided notion of their abilities. It’s better to remind them of the legal ramifications if they are pulled over by the police. Say something like, “Can I call someone to give you a ride? Or can I get you a taxi? I don’t want you to get a DWI; they’re expensive.”

Overall, though, the public should not try to personally intervene with unknown impaired drivers. If someone who is impaired believes he or she can drive home, the input of a good Samaritan usually doesn’t help and could get worse for the well-meaning individual.

SCOTT A. ROCUSH, executive director of Care Clinics Inc.