Getting pulled over when you are unsure how much you had to drink can be a terrifying experience. As the officer heads toward your car, you may start replaying the last few miles in your head, thinking of another (less serious) violation the officer noticed.
When the officer asks you to step out of your vehicle to perform a field sobriety test, you may start to consider whether there is a way to outsmart the test.
Here’s what you should know about field sobriety tests and why this is one instance where practice will not make perfect.
What does a field sobriety test measure?
Some of the most critical skills for safe driving are coordination and reaction. Unfortunately, drinking can have a detrimental effect on these skills by reducing your reaction time and making you uncoordinated.
Field sobriety tests look at your ability to follow simultaneous directions (like walking and counting your steps) while maintaining your coordination.
Why won’t practice help me?
Typically, when officers pull someone over for suspected drunk driving, they are already fairly sure of their analysis. Other characteristics, like slurred speech, will only make them more certain. Even if you pass one of the balance or walking tests, there is one test you cannot practice for, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.
The horizontal gaze nystagmus test analyzes an involuntary reaction your eyes have when you follow a moving object and tends to be very accurate. While you may be able to practice balancing or walking heel-to-toe, you cannot practice not having an involuntary reaction.
If you are unsure if it Is safe to drive, you should make arrangements to find a sober driver. In addition to being expensive, a DWI can lead to serious consequences in your personal and professional life.