Alcohol is a funny thing. You never can tell how it will affect you. Take a few drinks, and you might become a bit funnier. You might slur your words a bit, and lose coordination, which will amuse friends. You could also do something a lot worse, such as drive. And if you’re stopped by a police officer as a suspected DUI, you could shoot the moon and make a choice that guarantees you’ll be busted for drunk driving.
Police regularly watch cars for signs of a driver’s impairment: driving too fast or slow, weaving, or failing to go when the light turns green. There are a lot of signs. When the police stop a driver, they are looking for more apparent signs of inebriation, such as slurred speech or the smell of alcohol.
Here’s a tip: don’t do what a driver did recently in North Royalton, Ohio: when asked for his license, the driver gave the police officer a McDonald’s gift card. True, the driver smelled of alcohol and wasn’t speaking too well, but even if he hadn’t been obviously drunk, the gift card would have been a tip-off.
It happens more often than you think. The impaired driver puts on a sober face and concentrates on looking clear-headed, and then hands his or her credit card to the police officer, who considers it a tip-off that the driver has been drinking?
Why does it happen? Drinking makes it hard to do two things at once. So if you’re using your brain to put on a sober appearance, you don’t have much brain power left to remember that it’s your driver’s license that you need to present, and not the more usual credit card.
Police are trained to watch for drivers who corral all their brain power into appearing sober – in fact the field sobriety test or FST, is specifically designed to take advantage of this difficulty and trip them up.
The moral of the story is: it might be the McDonald’s gift card, or it might be something else, but something will alert the police that you’re impaired behind the wheel. And that means fines, jail, ignition interlocks, and higher insurance. So if you want to supersize your troubles, drink and drive.