Pull Over: Signs You are Driving Drunk

For some people, a simple glass of wine or a single beer is all they need to enjoy an evening out with friends. Others consume more alcohol or hard liquor. But the person drinking a single beer may be just as susceptible to the harmful effects as the person who has three or four drinks – the tolerance depends on each individual’s physiology.

That’s why, sooner rather than later in your adult life, you’ll have to determine when to say “when” – that is, you’ll need to know that you’ve reached your limit on alcohol so that you don’t pose a risk to yourself and others. This applies not just to driving, but to all aspects of your life.

When Is Alcohol Taking Effect?

Don’t wait for the next-day hangover … recognize the signs of inebriation before you ever get behind the wheel.

Feeling just a little “tipsy” and not really “drunk” is not a pass to keep drinking. Watch for signs in yourself and others that include:

  • More Talkative, Loud or Animated – If you are usually quiet and hear yourself starting to yell more, then you may be feeling the effects of alcohol when it lowers inhibitions.
  • Inappropriate Behavior – Foul language, off-color jokes … if you don’t talk like this when you’re completely sober, you may when you drink.
  • Slurred Speech, Clumsy Movement – As alcohol’s properties start taking hold in your body, you may feel a loss of control over your speech and movements. Never get behind the wheel if you lack total control of your body and mind.

How the Police Can Tell You’re Driving Drunk

Officers pull over countless drivers for DUI/DWI investigation – with years of experience in this field, the police have developed strong instincts for recognizing trouble, even if you don’t recognize it yourself. Here’s a few of the things they look for on the road:

  • Sudden Acceleration or Deceleration – Your impaired judgment may cause you to not be aware you’re speeding or even going too slowly. Police look for tailgating, passing too closely, cutting off other drivers and other offenses.
  • Weaving in and out of Lanes – Weaving through and straddling lanes is an obvious sign of impairment that will catch the cops’ attention every time.
  • Misuse of Headlights – Not everyone who forgets to turn on their headlights at night (or who abuse the “brights”) is drunk, but the police aren’t taking any chances. If your night driving looks unusual in any way, you are a candidate for DUI/DWI testing.

What You Can Expect in a Pull-Over

Noticing those flashing police-car lights behind you is always an unsettling experience, but if you’ve been drinking you could be in for a raft of tests and evaluations that could end up with you taken into custody.

Cooperate fully with the officer and pull over. You may then be subject to field sobriety tests including:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – This test is a standard field test. Nystagmus refers to involuntary jerking or bouncing of the eyeball – which could occur following alcohol use. The officer will position a pen or other object about a foot from your face and observe your eye movements as you follow the object.
  • Walk and Turn – Walking a straight line and turning efficiently helps an officer determine whether more intoxication tests are needed. If you cannot stay still when asked, fail to touch heel-to-toe and use your arms to balance, it could lead to an investigation of driving under the influence.
  • One-Leg Stand – Everyone’s sense of balance is unique to them, but if you sway, drop, hop or otherwise can’t execute a one-legged stand for at least a few moments, you will be a suspect for DUI/DWI.
  • Other tests include the Breathalyzer, blood tests and urine tests, all of which you may undergo if you are accused of alcohol impairment behind the wheel.

Think before You Drink

Is getting a buzz really worth the possible harm your driving could cause to others, and the marks on your own driving record?

It’s not enough to just say, “It’ll never happen to me.” If you drink any alcohol, you’re compromising your reaction time and judgment – sometimes it happens quickly, sometimes more slowly. Know your limits, and stick to them.

Getting a DWI Attorney

If you have already been arrested for a DWI, there is no way to undo your mistake. The only option you have left is to be proactive and hire an experienced DWI attorney. Failure to do so could result in unfair criminal sentences, that could affect you for the rest of your life.