Ever wonder what officers most commonly notice BEFORE pulling over a driver who is later charged with driving under the influence?
Police testimony reveals three common driving bad habits that attract officers’ attention:
- Speeding: Officers testify at trial that operating a motor vehicle is a divided attention task that requires drivers to maintain speed, stay in their lane and pay attention to traffic, and speeding makes them suspicious that the driver’s ability to divide attention is impaired, explains Bellingham lawyer Ziad Youssef, from MyTrafficMan.
- Failing to signal: Many drivers take signals for granted, but officers stop vehicles all the time for that violation.
- Swerving: Washington State law requires drivers to stay within their lane as nearly as “practicable,” which means cars may leave their lane briefly as long as there are no safety concerns, but swerving raises suspicion of drunk driving,Youssef says.
Most people won’t notice their vehicle is swerving, but one thing one thing to avoid is a last-minute turn. If you think you’re going to miss the turn, miss it, and catch the next one. This way you won’t be forced to co-ordinate turning, signaling and slowing in too short a time. And if you realize you’re being followed by law enforcement, avoid looking into your rearview mirror as lights from behind may cause you to veer out of your lane.
As always, be prepared
- Plan ahead to use a cab service or designated driver and don’t drive if you feel buzzed or have had too many drinks, Youssef says.
- Always have your insurance and registration within arms’ reach.
- Put your driver’s license somewhere easy to reach BEFORE you start driving.
- Check your all your lights – signals, parking, front, rear and license plate.
- Buckle up – always wear your seatbelt.
- And don’t forget to signal, even when you’re in a turn lane.
If you’ve been pulled over, what’s your best course of action?
When the officer activates the emergency lights, pull over immediately, and carefully come to a stop to the right of the road you’re on. Avoiding taking the officer off the road, or into a quiet side street, which can increase the officer’s anxiety level.
When the officer contacts you at the window, be polite, but keep conversation to a smiling “YES” or “NO” answer. They are is looking for signs of impairment so they can justify asking you to exit the vehicle if they smell alcohol.
Questions about your DUI? Visit mytrafficman.net or call 360-734-0908.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!
Focusing on DUI, MyTrafficMan’s lawyers serve clients in Bellingham, Bellevue, Ellensberg and Vancouver, WA as part of a broad network of legal resources focused on delivering the best legal care to each client. Learn more about their various legal services and initiatives at mytrafficman.net or visit on Facebook.