Going to college is an exciting time. You have more control over your life and schooling, and you have the chance to meet exciting new people.
College also holds several “coming of age” moments since it is when most students become old enough to drink alcohol legally. As you are on your way home from drinks with your friends, you may feel a sense of panic when there are flashing lights in your rearview mirror. You may wonder if a field sobriety test is something you can prepare for, like other tests.
Here’s what you should know about field sobriety tests and why practicing is not necessarily effective.
What are officers looking for?
Field sobriety tests analyze your reaction time and whether you can focus on more than one action at one time. For example, during the walk-and-turn test, an officer will look at whether you can walk at a steady pace, maintain your balance and count your steps according to their instructions.
Often, by the time an officer asks you to perform a field sobriety test, they are already reasonably sure you have had too much to drink. In many cases, the field sobriety test simply gives them more information before they request a breath, blood or urine test.
The test you can’t practice
While you may be able to practice your ability to walk heel-to-toe or stand on one leg, there is one test that does not rely on your ability to balance or follow directions. Instead, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test measures a common reflex in people who have had too much to drink.
The horizontal gaze nystagmus test looks at whether your eye does an involuntary twitch as you follow the path of an object with your eyes. This twitch is a reasonably reliable indicator that your blood alcohol content is too high.
Drunk driving charges can have a devastating effect on your life. If you are unsure if you have had too much to drink, it is always safer to call for a sober ride.