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What are some drunk driving tipoffs?

On Behalf of | May 3, 2020 | OUI Defense

Not surprisingly, law enforcement officers constantly remain vigilant for drivers whose driving patterns indicate that they are operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Given that, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, someone becomes injured in a drunk driving crash every two minutes in the United States and someone dies in a drunk driving crash every 51 minutes, such vigilance unfortunately remains necessary.

You would therefore do well to always practice safe driving techniques and habits every time you get behind the wheel. If you do not, you face getting pulled over for alleged OUI even if you are neither inebriated nor under the influence of illegal drugs. Specifically, you should be aware of the following drunk driving tipoffs that officers watch for.


Speeding per se is not an indication of drunk driving. Instead, most “tipsy” drivers exhibit one or more of the following speed-related problems:

  • Driving 10 or more miles per hour lower than the speed limit
  • Quick acceleration or deceleration
  • Erratic braking
  • Abrupt and/or illegal turning

Lane usage

If you fail to steer a steady course within your driving lane, this represents a major red flag for drunk driving. So do all of the following:

  • Weaving or zig-zagging within or between lanes
  • Drifting from one lane into another
  • Swerving
  • Straddling the road’s center line or lane marking
  • Driving into oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the road

General poor driving

Finally, your overall driving, such as engaging in one of the following, can alert officers to the possibility that you are driving drunk:

  • Tailgating
  • Inappropriate or no signaling
  • Driving at night without headlights on
  • Slow response time to traffic signals or stop signs
  • Near misses of curbs, other vehicles, guardrails, etc.
  • Driving on the shoulder, median or anywhere else not designated for traffic

Overall, your most effective strategy for avoiding an OUI arrest is to never drive after drinking or taking drugs and to always drive responsibly.


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