By: Nthabiseng Moloi, MiWay Head of Marketing & Brand

 

Road traffic authorities and metro police have warned that there will be a zero tolerance approach to enforcing road safety as the festive season gets into full swing. If you follow the rules and guidelines, avoiding problems at roadblocks and sobriety checkpoints is simple.

 

One of the main causes of road traffic accidents is drinking and driving, therefore the authorities manning a roadblock will not hesitate to take action against a driver found to be under the influence of alcohol. The simplest way to avoid this situation is, of course, not to drive after drinking any alcohol at all. We recommend appointing a designated driver who stays sober during festivities, using a taxi service to get home after you’ve been drinking, or taking advantage of the drive-assist services that some insurers and banks offer clients. Example, if you are a MiWay client – you can use the WeDrive service. Responsible driving is about more than just caring for yourself, it’s playing your part as a good citizen and being mindful of the consequences of driving drunk. You could kill somebody else on the road, your loved ones or yourself.

 

Besides checking for drinking and driving, roadblocks play an important part in overall safety and security. These often intimidating stops have seen many crimes being nipped in the bud through random searches – vehicles being used to commit crimes, trafficking drugs – and so on.

 

To deal with a roadblock situation with more confidence and less frustration or anger for the delay caused by the ‘stop and search’, here are a few tips:

 

  1. Follow instructions: When approaching a roadblock, be vigilant and follow instructions/signals given by the officer. Once you have pulled over, interact with the officers on duty respectfully and present your documents when requested. It is important to keep in mind that male officers may not search you as a female and vice versa.
  2. Verify the roadblock: As much as uniformed officers have the right to stop any vehicle and ask for your information, you can also ask for theirs as a road user and you are both obliged to produce the requested identification. You are entitled to ask for a written authorisation certificate signed by the National or Provincial Police Commissioner.
  3. Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy: If you are going to be spending a lot of time on the road or driving long distances, get your car checked and certified roadworthy. If you are stopped at a roadblock and your car is considered to not be roadworthy, you will be stopped from driving it any further simply because it is a risk to you and other road users.
  4. Know what you can and can’t get arrested for: There are a few things you can get arrested for at a roadblock and it is important to know what they are so as to avoid finding yourself in the back of a van. Road users can get arrested for resisting a breathalyser test or if high amounts of alcohol are found in your blood; you can get arrested for unpaid traffic fines – provided that there is a warrant issued against you for those specific fines and there is valid copy presented to you; and you can also get arrested for physically assaulting or verbally abusing an officer. If you are arrested, you must be informed of your rights immediately.
  5. Gather evidence if needs be: Should you find yourself in a situation where your rights are being violated, take down as much evidence as you can. For instance, the officer’s badge number or the vehicle number that is on the side of their patrol car.

 

Remember to remain calm throughout the process and not aggravate the situation. And if you’ve been drinking, don’t drive!

 

For more information on car insurance visit www.miway.co.za.

MiWay is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (Licence no: 33970)

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