Despite endless awareness campaigns, real-life tragedies unfolding before our eyes and even the illegality of these actions, motorists continue to drink and drive under the influence. The reason for this could be due to many factors, one of which for a small portion of people could simply be bad planning.
There is no question South Africa has some of worst crash statistics in the world and alcohol plays a huge part in those tragic totals, meaniing there is a desperate need to do something about it.
However, the zero alcohol limit Government is intent on ramrodding through has not been properly thought out and, while ostensibly in pursuit of improved road safety, carries with it an undertone of being an additional revenue source targeting mainly those perceived as being able to afford it.
However, place yourself in the shoes of someone who drives to an event not planning on drinking but due to a number of factors, they do drink and now need to get home.
The CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, explains this scenario further.
“Much attention is paid to not driving yourself to places where you plan on drinking. The difficulty is many drivers can, and do, find themselves at a destination, after a few unplanned drinks, unable to safely drive home – which often becomes the impetus to ‘take a chance.’
“Thus, rather than focus on why we should not drink and drive, let’s look at what to do if you find yourself in our hypothetical situation. Luckily, during current times there are many more options and means to get home safely than what there were a few years ago,” says Herbert.
1. Taxis or ride-sharing
If you can leave your vehicle in a safe location for the night, for example, at the home of a friend, this is the ideal solution. “Before you leave to go anywhere, irrespective of whether you plan on drinking or not, ensure you have an app of your preferred provider downloaded on your phone. For extra safety tips when using these providers, contact MasterDrive for their tips.”
1. Call a friend
If you cannot safely leave your vehicle at a location or cannot afford ride-sharing options, call a friend. “A friend or family member would much rather be called out at night to help you safely get home than what they would like to be called to the scene of your accident. If you drank too much, now is not the time to worry about being a nuisance to friends and family.”
1. Find sobriety
It is unlikely that every person at an event, bar or party has drunk alcohol. “Look around you to see if there is a friend who can assist you by driving you home in your car. Be cautious about who you pick, though, because your inebriation may make them seem like they are not drunk but they might still be over the limit.”
1. Act early
Make decisions that prioritise your safety before you reach the stage where you are unable to be rational. “This can be after you have drunk what is generally accepted to be over the limit. Or when you know you are on the verge of passing your own personal limits. Give your car keys to someone you can trust or make an alternative arrangement to get home then. Do not wait until you are slurring to a friend that you are perfectly fine to drive.”
Drunk driving has become that awful thing that everyone else does.
“It is, however, more than possible that you find yourself facing a trip home where your vision tells you there are two sets of car keys in your hand, rather than one. If this does happen, there are better, safer options to get home than getting behind the wheel yourself,” says Herbert.