The below list by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a compilation of the 20 most common driving patterns exhibited by drunk drivers. Next to each pattern is a numeric probability that the driver is under the influence.

Note: When there are multiple patterns from one vehicle, the NHTSA adds 10% to the highest valued symptom to indicate the probability that the driver is drunk. Using this guideline, if a police officer were to observe a person driving with his headlights off after dark, turning illegally, and driving into opposing traffic, the probability he is drunk is 55%.

Top 20 Drunk Driving Patterns

Below are the top driving patterns DUI police look for:

  • Turning with a wide radius – 65%
  • Straddling center or lane marker – 65%
  • Appearing to be drunk – 60%
  • Almost striking an object or vehicle – 60%
  • Weaving – 60%
  • Driving outside the designated roadway – 55%
  • Swerving – 55%
  • Slow speed (more than 10 mph below the speed limit) – 50%
  • Stopping in traffic (without a reason) – 50%
  • Drifting – 50%
  • Following too closely (tailgating) – 45%
  • Driving with tires on center or lane marker – 45%
  • Erratic braking – 45%
  • Driving into opposing traffic – 45%
  • Signaling inconsistently with driving actions – 40%
  • Stopping inappropriately (other than in lane) – 35%
  • Turning abruptly or illegally – 35%
  • Accelerating or decelerating suddenly – 30%
  • Headlights off after dark – 30%
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Managing Partner at Shaun Kaufman Law
Shaun Kaufman has 30 years of in-court experience, with hundreds of hours spent defending numerous high-profile cases including homicide, white-collar theft and RICO offenses. Specialties: Criminal defense, personal injury, business litigation, DUI.

Shaun Kaufman Law: 303-309-0430
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