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In the Walk and Turn test, the subject takes nine heel-to-toe steps, turns in a prescribed manner, and takes nine heel-to-toe steps back, while counting the steps out loud, while watching their feet. During the turn, the subject keeps their front foot on the line, turns in a prescribed manner, and uses the other foot to take several small steps to complete the turn.

Procedures for Walk and Turn Testing

  • Place your left foot on the line.
  • Place your right foot on the line ahead of the left foot, with heel of right foot against toe of left foot.
  • Place your arms down at your side.
  • Maintain this position until I have completed the instructions.
  • Do you understand the instructions so far?

Demonstration and Instructions for the Walking Stage

  • When I tell you to start, take nine heel to toe steps, turn, and take nine heel to toe steps back.
  • When you turn, keep the front foot on the line, and turn by taking a series of small steps with the other foot
  • While you are walking, keep your arms at your sides, watch your feet at all times, and count your steps out loud.
  • Once you start walking, don’t stop until you have completed the test.
  • Do you understand the instructions.
  • Begin, and count your first step from the heel to toe position.

There are eight validated clues of impairment for the walk and turn test.  Two clues apply while the suspect is standing heel to toe and listening to the instructions

  • Cannot keep balance
  • Starts too soon

The other six validated clues apply during the walking stage of the test

  • Stops walking
  • Misses heel to toe
  • Steps off the line
  • Uses arms to balance
  • Takes the wrong number of steps
  • Turns improperly


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