South Africa’s massive drunk driving problem

The South African Police Services has released the 2018/2019 crime statistics, showing the high rate of drunk driving in South Africa.

According to the report, there were 82,912 reported cases of drunk driving over the time period – a decrease of -3.8% compared to the 2017/2018.

However, it should be noted that the number of people driving drunk on South African roads is likely significantly higher as the above statistics only include incidents reported to the police.

The majority of these cases were reported in Gauteng, followed by the KZN and the Western Cape.

The area with the most reported incidents was Durban Central, followed by Point (KZN) and Germiston (Gauteng).

 

How to deal with drunk drivers

According to the managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, despite extensive efforts to educate and encourage drivers to avoid driving under the influence, South Africa is not seeing the decreases it should.

“While we shouldn’t lessen our efforts to decrease the number of impaired drivers, we can improve our efforts to help unimpaired drivers avoid the danger that these drivers present,” he said.

Below he provided the following tips on how to identify and what to do, should you suspect a driver has consumed drugs or alcohol:

  • If a driver is weaving in their lane or hugging the centre line, increase the space between your vehicles and immediately put some distance between yourselves as soon as it is safe to do so;
  • Be aware the vision of drunk drivers can be severely affected and you should avoid travelling in front of these drivers. It is easy for them to make errors in judgement;
  • Additionally, avoid driving in front of a driver you believe is impaired as they may use your car for guidance and tailgate your vehicle increasing the risk of a rear-end crash;
  • Conversely, do not drive too closely to a driver that appears impaired as they often brake unnecessarily and suddenly;
  • Be cautious of impaired drivers that sometimes overcompensate by driving too slowly for the conditions;
  • Pay extra attention when the drunk driver approaches intersections or four-way stops. They tend to make errors like stopping at green lights or may not see a stop sign at all. The same applies when there are hazards in or close to the side of the road. For example, the driver is likely to fail to identify stationary vehicles;
  • If you are driving on a single-lane road, rather increase the distance between yourself and the driver than risk overtaking them;
  • Do not engage with the drunk drivers. Rather focus your attention on placing distance between yourselves;
  • If you have Bluetooth, and it will not remove your attention from the impaired driver, call the authorities as soon as you can.

“While we may not be as successful at reducing the number of impaired drivers as we hoped to have achieved, we can train ourselves on how to react when we encounter them on the road,” said Herbert.


Read: 11 tactics criminals use to hijack vehicles in South Africa

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South Africa’s massive drunk driving problem