If you’re new to the world of the ignition interlock – if you’ve recently had one installed in your vehicle, or have received an order to install one – you might be nervous about the outcome of your program. You might have even heard that it’s possible to make a mistake that can get your program canceled and your driving privileges revoked – even if you haven’t tried to drive after drinking.
The fact is, you can get through your ignition interlock program without problems. The devices are designed to be accurate and simple to operate. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before you start your program. Here’s the list of things that will make your ignition interlock term go quickly and without a hitch:
1. Keep your battery in good condition. An ignition interlock is an electronic device, like a car stereo or a dashboard clock. As a matter of fact, it uses about as much current as your dashboard clock, so you shouldn’t have problems if your battery keeps a good charge.
But if you’ve been having problems with draining or dying batteries, now is the time to get a new one. And keep it fully charged by driving your vehicle at least every few days during your interlock term.
2. Rinse your mouth after eating. Bits of food and some liquids – pizza dough and fruit juices, for example – can actually ferment in your mouth and create alcohol. Your ignition interlock could pick that up and flash you a warning. So always keep a bottle of water nearby to rinse while you’re on the program.
3. Watch out for cold weather. Cold weather can make things tricky: they cause moisture from the air to freeze on the interlock’s components, so it can take longer to warm up the device. If your state allows you to detach the device and bring it in the house with you, then do that. Otherwise, your technician will give you the lowdown on the best way to keep the cold from slowing you down.
4. Don’t leave your car running while unattended. If you’re in the habit of letting your vehicle idle while you stand in the parking lot and socialize, now is a good time to alter that habit. The interlock doesn’t know you’re not in the driver’s seat, and it will prompt for a rolling re-test whether you’re there or not. If you’re not, it registers a refused test. Don’t let that happen – shut off your vehicle when you’re not driving.
5. Keep your monitoring appointment. Every month or two, depending on your state, you’ll be required to bring in your vehicle so the interlock can be calibrated and monitored. It’s vital that you keep your appointments, both to keep your ignition interlock working accurately and to fulfill the conditions of your suspension. If you need to change a scheduled monitoring appointment, call at least 24 hours in advance.
If you keep this short checklist in mind, you’ll get through your program and eventually your suspension will be a thing of the past. Good luck!