Holiday Season Driving: Zimbabweans More Fearful of Drunk Drivers Than Hazardous Road Conditions

Jingles, lights, shops, pumpkin spice drinks… The holiday season always seems beautiful and peaceful but like almost everything, there is a dark side: craziness, a lot of people shopping Christmas gifts and so on. Statistics show a hard truth, the holiday season is risky for drivers. But instead of worrying, let’s focus on facts, prevention tips and saving time on driving. When we look for car crash statistics, each time we found a recurring fact, there are specific months that continue to have such a large average of car accidents: November and December.

62% of Zimbabweans say they are more fearful of drunk drivers than hazardous road conditions during the holiday season. Drivers are right to be concerned. The holiday season brings additional road dangers as people increase their alcohol consumption at office parties, Christmas and  gatherings, and New Year’s celebrations. Find out what our report revealed about holiday season driving and how you can stay safe on the roads.

Holiday Drinking and Impaired Driving Report 2019

The results of our 2019 survey show that 66% of Zimbabweans don’t feel safe on the roads during the holiday season. It further revealed the following about drivers’ drinking and drug habits over the festive season.

OFFICE HOLIDAY PARTIES: Of those who plan to drink at office parties, 11% say they intend to drive themselves home   3% plan to use a designated sober driver, 0% plan to use a rideshare service like Vaya and 2% plan to call a taxi. 

NEW YEAR’S EVE: Of those who plan to drink on New Year’s Eve, 7% say they plan to drive themselves home  3% will rely on a sober friend or family member, 0%  plan to use a rideshare service, and 2% will use a taxi. 

HOLIDAY SEASON DRUG USE: 9% of respondents confessed that they use more marijuana, and 7% take more prescription drugs over the holiday season.  

DRINKING AND DRIVING: 60% of drivers stated that if they limit themselves to just one drink, they are safe to drive. 

The Dangers of Impaired Driving

November through January is one of the deadliest times of the year on the road. Yet, despite Zimbabweans feeling vulnerable to drunk drivers, 25% admit that they too drink more alcohol over the holiday season than any other time of year.

 Alcohol isn’t the only substance that impairs driving. Many people are unaware of how medication can affect their driving ability Drive urges drivers to be aware of the side effects of prescription medication. “For those that take any prescription medications, be aware of their effect on you and how they interact. Ask your doctor if your driving ability may be affected.” Even some over-the-counter medications like cold, flu or allergy medication can cause nausea, drowsiness, and blurred vision. 

Common Drinking and Driving Myths

Many drivers overestimate their ability to drive under the influence while others operate under some false beliefs. Here are three common drinking and driving myths.

Drinking Coffee Will Sober Me Up

Coffee is not a quick fix. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it can counteract the sedative effect of alcohol, but it won’t lower your blood alcohol level or immediately improve the effects of alcohol on your coordination and reaction time.

If I Stop Drinking An Hour Before, It’s Safe to Drive

In general, it takes approximately 1-2 hours for the body to metabolize one standard drink. However, other factors like your weight, number of drinks, how much you’ve eaten, and how tired you are, can also affect how quickly you recover from binge drinking. 

If I’m Not Slurring My Words, I’m Ok To Drive

Some drivers mistakenly think that if they don’t show typical signs of intoxication, such as slurred speech or unsteady walking, they are capable of driving safely. The truth is, your driving skills diminish long before you show outward physical signs of intoxication. At a 0.05% blood alcohol concentration level, you are already impaired and should not drive.

Stay Safe On The Roads This Holiday Season

There’s no denying that driving over the holiday season is risky. Not only are there more intoxicated drivers on the road, but winter weather brings additional hazards. Here’s how to stay safe on the roads this holiday season.

More roads equal less traffic. It seems intuitive that having more roads would loosen up congestion, but that isn’t always true. When more roads are built, people drive more. Population growth could be considered in planning, but the growth in vehicle km travelled consistently outpaces it.

Changing lanes will get you there faster. Sometimes, when your lane is moving slow and the next one isn’t, it’s easy to think a quick lane change will fix the momentum of traffic. Inevitably, the new lane slows and our original lane starts moving. Generally, when people stay in their lanes, traffic moves more efficiently. By realizing this fact and settling into one for the long haul, you’ll likely arrive at your destination faster.

Traffic jams happen for no reason. When we see red lights up ahead, we expect the worst. An accident, fallen tree, and jackknifed big rig all enter our imaginations. But as suddenly as the red lights started, traffic is flowing again with no discernable cause for it in the first place. The truth is many different factors can cause cars to slow, and they don’t have to be accident-related. Curves, steep hills, or a slow driver could cause a significant backup.

Faster driving means a quicker arrival. Common sense seems to dictate going faster is, well, faster. If drivers had an open road with no traffic, this logic would hold up. But when it comes to being in traffic, driving rapidly doesn’t get you there any quicker. At higher speeds, drivers need to allow more distance between vehicles to stop in time if required. Faster moving traffic also tends to get into jams quicker and out of them slower.

Before you head anywhere this holiday season, keep these common traffic myths in mind. Always be aware of your surroundings, stay in your lane, stick to the speed limit, and don’t get frustrated during heavy traffic. Take the time to relax and get to your destination safely. Nobody wants to get in an accident, especially during the holiday season.

Drive Zimbabwe Roadside Assistance Vehicle Safety Checks… Book today

Each day, your car easily takes you where you need to go. You drive from home to the office and back. You use it to run errands like going to the gym, doing the grocery shopping, and taking the kids to school or sports practice.

Your car is a dependable machine, so it comes as no surprise that you want to use it on your upcoming road trip. Whether you’re leaving the town for a business trip or a family vacation, you expect your car to be as reliable as it’s ever been. Even if your car has reliably transported you or your loved ones around your neighbourhood, a road trip is a bigger commitment—and the trip can put a lot of strain on your vehicle. Though you may get your oil and other fluids changed regularly,  Safety Checks is needed before you hit the road.

Before your trip, however, it is advisable to take your car to  Zimbabwe Roadside Assistance, which has launched the Drive Vehicle Safety Checks which assists motorists to get their vehicles checked in the comfort of their homes.

Get a vehicle safety check and road test before you travel or sending to your mechanic:

  • Up to 206 checks per car
  • Same-day feedback: a written report within one day
  • Fixed-rate, no hidden costs
  • Impartial advice to help you understand your vehicle condition

From as little as $15 for Drive Zim members ($20 for non-members),  What do Technical Officers check during each vehicle safety check?

1. Lighting Equipment

2. Steering System

3. Braking  System

4. Suspension System

5. Tyres

6. Engine and Transmission

A vehicle safety from Drive Zimbabwe Roadside Assistance can help identify any hidden problems you may not be aware of which could lead to costly repairs. Call us or Whatsapp at 0780 579 261/0718 084 297 / 0736 523 424 our Technical Officer will be at your doorstep

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