New Hampshire police officers are trained to observe other drivers on the road for signs that motorists are operating while under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or while intoxicated (DWI). One of the main indications that police officers look for is a driver’s inability to use “divided attention” skills.
The phrase “divided attention” simply describes the ability to do more than one task at a time. Drivers have to be able to pay attention to many things at once, such as the speed of the vehicle, the distance between their car and the one in front of them, the presence of any hazards such as barriers or pedestrians, and the directions given by street signs and traffic signals.
Alcohol consumption can make dividing attention more difficult. Intoxicated drivers will often focus on only one thing on the road and ignore all the others, no matter how important they are. For instance, an intoxicated driver may focus on the taillights of the car ahead and forget to notice or respond to a changing traffic light.