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What the walk and turn test is really looking for

The walk and turn test is one that the police may use if they pull you over and they think you're intoxicated. The test itself is really simple: You just walk down a straight line, turn around and come back.

The key to this test is typically not how well you can walk, though, but how well you can multitask. Studies have shown that those who are intoxicated are usually much less likely to be able to multitask than those who are sober—though anyone can struggle with it. In any case, the police will give you directions while you're walking to see if you can do both things at once. The signs they're looking for include the following:

-- Being unable to keep your balance if you are listening to the officer.-- Starting to walk before the officer is done giving you instructions.-- Stopping when you begin to lose your balance to try to stay upright.-- Failing to touch your heel to your toe, which is not typically how you walk and requires more thought.-- Stepping off of the white line while thinking about your balance or anything else.-- Holding your arms up to keep your balance.-- Not taking the right amount of steps - you could lose track of how many you've taken or forget how many the officer told you to take when you're halfway done.

As you can see, the directions aren't complicated, which is why failing at them is a key to the officers. However, it's worth noting that a sober person could easily make the same mistakes, so be sure you know your legal options if you're arrested in Colorado.

Source: Gizmodo, "The Secrets of Field Sobriety Tests," Brent Rose, accessed April 28, 2016

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