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In most DUI offenses

In most DUI offenses this is what gives you away

When a police officer decides to pull over your car there could be a fundamental problem with the way you are driving or operating your car and it could have far reaching consequences on you as an individual besides determining the way you are perceived by society.

It has been clinically determined that upon consumption of alcohol a person would no longer be in full control of his senses, impulses and reactions. Alcohol visibly lowers response time to various physical demands, and exposes you (and others) to grave danger, especially when you are behind a steering wheel.

Researchers attached to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), after analyzing extensive surveys of accidents, accident victims and DUI cases, came to the conclusion that a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeding 0.08 percent could be predicted by observing certain cues in the driving mannerisms of frequent commuters. It was observed that drivers exhibiting the following behavioral quirks were more prone to do so under the influence of alcohol.

1) Not observing lane discipline: They had serious problems sticking to their lane and were frequently switching lanes, changing speed or moving in a haphazard manner.

2) Erratic speeding and sudden braking: They upped the accelerator and became erratic in speeding and braking within traffic causing serious inconvenience to fellow commuters who often had to swerve or brake suddenly to avoid crashing them.

3) Not vigilant enough: They became lax, forgetting to initiate basic precautions such as switching on lights or beeping their side indicators when changing lanes. In general they are flouting normal driving etiquette.

4) Lack judgment and balance: They show impaired judgment in driving and were more prone to take higher driving risks thereby exposing fellow commuters to greater danger. One example is driving too close to the vehicle in front of you leaving little gap for sudden braking or evasive action.

The research revealed that drivers exhibiting one or more of these cues were more likely to be showing DUI levels exceeding 0.50 percent. Therefore, these scientifically validated cues help an officer of the law predict which driver is DUI.

The dead giveaways showing your are DUI

Driving unsteadily in your lane

The inebriated driver has a serious problem sticking to his lane and resorts to a weaving action, or a kind of zig zagging or haphazard movement within the lane. The action becomes repetitive as the driver ebbs and flows between periods of extreme alertness (corrective action) and impaired driving (lane changing). The vehicle may be traveling with one wheel riding over lane markers or even pavements before course correction is attempted.

Weaving is visible mainly through the following behavior-

  • Switching lanes frequently and correcting course suddenly.
  • Riding high over lane markers or side pavements or raised slabs
  • Moving steadily towards one side before correcting course and resuming a straight line
  • Visibly losing control as vehicle lurches from side to side
  • Moving bumper to bumper with other vehicles before pulling away at the last moment
  • Taking too big a turn around hairpin bends, barely missing guard rails

Excessive speeding and sudden braking with no regard for ongoing traffic and lane position

Speeding and braking are surefire indicators that you are dealing with an inebriated driver.

  • The vehicle could be braking and coming to a stop all of a sudden and repeating such actions frequently
  • Vehicle accelerates without apparent reason and slows down to avoid crashing other vehicles
  • Driver adopts varying speed pattern which is illogical and unreasonable
  • Vehicle visibly slows down affecting other fast moving vehicles

Vigilance issues become serious as the driver’s attention flags

Vigilance is one’s ability to consciously adapt to the changes that are constantly impacting you when you are driving in heavy traffic. When you are driving you are constantly responding to the driving actions of other commuters. When DUI you could forget a simple act like turning on your headlights or side indicators when you move laterally. Vigilance impairment shows in the following behavior-

  • Forgetting to switch on headlights as visibility lowers.
  • Switching lanes without supporting indicator lights
  • Rushing in the opposite direction up a one way street
  • Ignoring traffic signals and not stopping at red lights
  • Being inattentive to the officer’s signal to slow down and pull over
  • Slowing down and even stopping the car in mid traffic and holding up traffic moving in a particular direction

Alcohol intake impairs one’s ability to take decisions quickly

Contrary to public perception even a minute amount of alcohol slows down one’s decision making ability, more so when one is driving and under constant pressure to respond quickly to changing traffic flows. The cues are quite visible to the naked eye.

  • Sticking too close for comfort to the vehicle moving in front of you
  • Inability to stick to one’s lane and transgressing another lane intermittently
  • Turning or moving sideways too fast without proper warning to fellow commuters
  • Driving on surfaces or structures that are far removed from regular highways
  • Sudden squealing stoppage in response to an officer’s signal
  • Quirky or aggressive behavior when questioned by an officer

The cues that give you away after the traffic stop

  • Becoming unsteady as you step out of the car
  • Showing disorientation as you grope around for your papers and license
  • Stammering, slurred or repetitive speech when questioned
  • Having problems maintaining an upright posture as you struggle with your balance
  • Having to lean on the vehicle while talking to the officer
  • The reek of alcohol laced beverage or presence of opened bottles near the driving seat

Officers of the Highway Patrol are trained to spot cues that may indicate that a driver is operating his vehicle in an inebriated condition and that the driver may pose a threat to himself and fellow commuters if he is permitted to continue driving the freeways. By knowing how officers assess your condition you are hopefully empowering yourself to take a conscious decision to stay away from the bottle when you are expected to drive a vehicle. It’s a sensible precaution worth taking that will save you loads of trouble down busy highways.

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