Sean Flynn was two and a half times over the alcohol limit when his Fiat Punto crashed into the side of Norma Hall's Suzuki on the A185 at Church Bank in Jarrow.
The 84-year-old, who was turning right, suffered serious injuries and the Great North Air Ambulance was called to the scene, where she died.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how Flynn, 32, had drank three pints at lunchtime after drinking heavily the night before, when the collision happened.
Sea fret - a look at the foggy phenomenon which spoils sunny days in South Shields
South Shields man jailed for terrifying physical and sexual assault on woman in her own home
South Tyneside man given jail warning after breaching court order
13 great pictures as the sunshine sees crowds flock to South Shields beaches
The 16 places where most crime was reported across South Tyneside in June
When breathalysed he had a reading of 87 micrograms in 100ml of breath and cocaine was also found in his bloodstream.
Witnesses described his driving as that of a "bloody idiot" leading up to the incident on November 4, 2014.
Mark Giuliani, prosecuting, told the court: "Ms Norma Hall was driving her Suzuki motor car and making a perfectly lawful and proper right turn.
"As she was making the manoeuvre he collided with her car and she died.
"He was asking, 'why did she pull out, why did she do that?'
"She was making a lawful right turn on the road, she wasn't pulling out, she was turning right.
"The defendant was given a breath test. He was emotional, he was saying 'she's dead, isn't she?'"
The court heard how when he was arrested, Flynn said he had been drinking the night before and had been very drunk.
Flynn said on the day of the collision he had met up with a friend, gone for something to eat and said he only had one pint.
He said he was driving under 40mph and had an issue with the brakes on his car, which he had only bought five days earlier.
Mr Giuliani said: "The police checked the brakes on the Punto and found them to be in working order.
"At the point of impact he had been doing 62mph in a 40mph zone.
"The Crown's position is the driving, from the moment he left the pub to the time of the collision, is a prolonged period of bad driving.
"He was tailgating, he was driving at an excessive speed, he was undertaking.
"He was driving at 67mph at the time of the collision. He's only been able to reduce his speed by 5mph at the time he collided."
Mr Giuliani told the court how the family of Ms Hall did not wish to provide an impact statement.
Flynn admitted causing death by dangerous driving at a previous hearing.
Stephen Duffield, defending, said: "It's a bad case of dangerous driving.
"This isn't a man who has lost control of his car, he's driving it badly, but he is in full control.
"Nobody speaks of him being out of control when in that car. He accepts obviously by his plea that his actions have been a major cause of this lady's death.
"He was determined that he would plead to that, he was not going to sit behind any technicalities. You will see in the pre-sentence report the remorse that he feels."
Judge Penny Moreland told Flynn: "You were just over two and a half times the permitted level for driving.
"During that hour you had been seen driving at an excessive speed, tailgating other vehicles, passing them on the wrong side, causing other road users to brake sharply to avoid a collision with you.
"When you collided with her car the road speed limit was 40mph, you were travelling at 67 mph. When the collision took place you were travelling at 62mph.
"The driving was prolonged, deliberate and persistent. I accept your genuine remorse for what happened that day."
Judge Moreland sentenced Flynn, of Clovelly Place, Jarrow, to five years and three months in prison.
He was also banned from driving for five years from the day of his release on licence.