With the festive season fast approaching, drunk driving is again under the spotlight.
Dialdirect Insurance has seen a sharp increase from 2018 to 2019 in incidents of motorists operating vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs and welcomes the national Transport Department’s proposal of reducing the blood-alcohol level from 0.05% to 0%.
58% of road deaths involve alcohol
"The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 2018 Global status report on road safety indicates that 58% of road traffic deaths in South Africa involve alcohol," says Maanda Tshifularo, Head of Dialdirect.
"The recent findings by the WHO also indicates that South Africans have the 5th highest alcohol consumption rate in the world,” he adds.
During the December 2018/January 2019 festive season period, 2 223 South African motorists were arrested for drunk driving.
Wheels24's Janine Van der Post says: "It's simple: if you're going to drink at all this holiday, just stay where you are until the next day, or let your friend or partner drive. Or better yet, park your car and catch a lift or an Uber.
"Just one drink could be one too many. It's holidays, there are more roadblocks than usual, and it's just not worth upsetting your loved ones. But more importantly, you could take someone's life, or even your own. You might think you're fine to drive but your reaction times will already be compromised. Worse, another motorist could cause a crash, and you will be worse off for driving under the influence. Just don't do it."
Dialdirect urges South Africans to be responsible about their alcohol use this year by following these tips:
1. Know your limit: As a general rule of thumb, 2 drinks in one hour will put you over the limit. Also bear in mind that, after a big night out, you could still be over the limit the morning after.
2. Cut-off time: Stop drinking alcohol well before the end of the night so your body has time to recover. Be especially mindful to not having a drink shortly before you leave, because the effects of alcohol could soon see your driving ability deteriorate rapidly.
3. Self-test: Invest in a high quality, personal breathalyser to check your breath alcohol level before getting behind the wheel.
4. Be a good wingman: Keep those in your circle in check, especially when you know that they’ll need to drive later. If you suspect that someone is over the limit, don’t allow them to drive.
5. Beware of spiking: Don’t let your drink out of your sight. Your drink can be spiked within a matter of seconds.
6. Catch a lift: Appoint a designated driver or use the services of a reputable taxi service. If you are in any doubt about whether you’re over the limit or not, rather be safe than sorry.