I have taken the keys away from friends and strangers when I have encountered someone who is noticeably intoxicated.
These incidents put me in a very awkward position of having to avoid a direct confrontation and sometimes violence with the driver, but their level of impairment made staying away from them fairly easy. In most cases a call to the police was made. In another it was for a taxi.
But back in the 1990s, I was almost a potential victim of an intoxicated wrong way driver on Hwy. 404.
I was driving northbound on Hwy. 404 around Hwy. 7 one dark winter morning. In those days Hwy. 404 was still only two lanes north and two lane southbound. Traffic was very light and I noticed southbound cars were flashing their highbeams. This is usually a warning of a speed trap up ahead but this was much too early for that. My next thought was there is something happening up ahead that is out of the ordinary. Be prepared.
I was driving in the right lane as usual and another northbound vehicle was just starting to pass me when we came up over the crest of a hill.
Then there it was, another vehicle coming southbound in our lanes directly at us, head on at high speed.
I drove off onto the shoulder as smoothly as possible. It was winter and there was still some snow and ice on the shoulder. The car that was passing me swerved into the lane I was in and the southbound drunk driver missed both of us and continued south.
The report I heard later that day was the drunk driver made it all the way down to Finch Ave. where he drove head on into a tanker truck and was killed instantly.
If I had been distracted at that time, this incident would have involved the three vehicles including mine with much more serious consequences. I may not have survived to be able write about this.
Drunk driving is very serious. Everyone should do their part to try to prevent friends, family or even strangers from driving while impaired. This can range from a simple phone call to police or calling OPP to report suspected drunk drivers to taking the keys away from the drunk driver. Which ever suits the occasion and your safety. It is important we try to do something to stop or limit the impaired motorists driving.
Should you encounter a drunk driver on the roads, call OPP on your hands free by dialing *OPP (*677) and report their location, description and licence number if possible. When possible, have your passenger call so you can focus on your driving.
If you meet a drunk driver coming at you head on, slow down and steer smoothly off onto the shoulder of the road. In a panic situation, steering to the right shoulder is usually safer. The oncoming driver will mostly steer to their right too.
To help you survive this situation, it is important that you look where you want to go and not at the drunk driver and steer smoothly to make this avoidance manoeuvre successful.
Columns Everything you need to know about purchasing, maintaining and driving your car.
Become a member
Register now to access all features including:
- Save and ask friends to review vehicles
- Exclusive rebates & offers from local dealers
- Premium content, reviews and tools
All for free!
Already a member?
Registration 2 of 2
Welcome to Wheels!
As a final step we've sent a confirmation to your email address as a security measure. Please click the link in the email to complete your registration.
Terms of services
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, TORONTO STAR IS PROVIDING THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES ON AN "AS IS" AND â€œAS AVAILABLEâ€ BASIS AND MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, IN ANY CONNECTION WITH THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEB SITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. TORONTO STAR DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTION OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THEIR CONTENTS WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THE SERVERS THAT MAKE IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE, SHALL TORONTO STAR BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF INCOME OR PROFIT, LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY COMPENSATORY, INCIDENTAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES), EVEN IF TORONTO STAR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR LOSSES, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEBSITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. IN NO EVENT SHALL TORONTO STARâ€™S TOTAL LIABILITY FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, AND CAUSES OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID BY YOU FOR ACCESSING THIS SITE.X