You’ve done the right thing – you’re not driving home after a night of drinking.
But before you stagger home consider this: will you make it? GEARED uncovers the truth about drink walking.
The problem with walking home drunk (or even a little tipsy) should be pretty obvious. Alcohol impairs your judgement – which means you can’t accurately judge the speed or distance of an oncoming car. You may think you have enough time to cross the road, but you don’t. Your balance may also be affected and alcohol can also make you sleepy, so you’re not fully alert.
Alcohol can increase your confidence and risk-taking which means you may feel more confident when it comes to crossing a busy road, and incorrectly judge the time and distance of approaching vehicles.
All pedestrians under the influence of alcohol are at risk. However, males account for more than 80% of alcohol-affected pedestrian fatalities and 82% of pedestrian injuries.
The majority of alcohol-affected pedestrian casualties occur during the late evening and early morning hours, particularly on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Just over half of all alcohol affected pedestrian fatalities and 41% of all alcohol affected injuries occur at these times.
The majority of alcohol affected pedestrian fatalities occur within the metropolitan area. However, alcohol affected pedestrian casualties are over-represented in non metropolitan areas.
What’s the Plan?
Always plan ahead.
Leave your car at home and before you head out for the night, plan how you’re getting back home.
You can do this by:
- Finding out whether your local area has an ‘alternative transport’ option (it’s generally free or a gold coin donation) – lots of councils have a late night bus for people who have been out drinking.
- Checking out the public transport timetable to see what time the trains or buses are running. Even if the bus won’t take you all the way home, you can still catch it as far as possible then walk the rest of the way – this minimises the distance you’re walking.
- Pre-booking a cab or maybe carry a cab charge so that you can get a taxi.
- Organising a lift with a friend who isn’t drinking.
- Organising to stay at a mate’s place.
Remember when you’re out, always use pedestrian crossings where they are available and try to cross the road in a well lit area.
Many local areas have a night bus service (free or a gold coin donation) to get you home safety.
These services are run and funded by various local players such as Liquor Accords, licensed venues and councils, to stop people drink driving and drink walking. Roads and Maritime Services also provide some funding towards the promotion of these schemes.
Alternative transport schemes run across NSW in some areas including Port Stephens, the Central Coast, Newcastle, Maitland, Wollongong, Nowra, Bega, Kiama, Batemans Bay, Sutherland Shire, Manly, Randwick, the Northern Beaches, Huskisson and Ulladulla, as well as in Jindabyne during the snow season.
Many of these services are seasonal or event based, running only for events like New Years Eve. Check with your local licensed venue, or contact your local council to find out what’s available in your area. For southern region areas visit www.nightbus.com.au for routes and timetable information.
Watch out for pedestrians
If you happen to be driving around areas where there are pubs, clubs and restaurants at peak times such as Friday or Saturday nights, make sure you take extra care, look out for people crossing the road, and be prepared to stop.
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