No to drinking and driving

08 October 2019 | Education

Roux-Che Shidute

Julian Roos is the brother of Jessi Padgham, one of our very own first matrics in 2010. Julian visited our Secondary School on Friday 13 September to spread a very powerful message. Jessi told his story.

“Twelve years ago in 2007, Julian was out at a local pub, playing drinking games with friends. We all know when the games come out, it’s inevitable that we’re going over the top. But Jules didn’t ever consider making travel provisions on nights like this. See he used drinking, drag racing and partying as a way to escape his problems. He had been living with the guilt of not being able to make amends with our mom who had passed - they didn’t have the best relationship.”

“On this particular night when he once again drank to the point of being over the limit, he demanded to drive his girlfriend home. They had a fight on the way and he lost control of the car. His car flipped and he hit his head on a pole damaging his brain stem.”

“He didn’t wake up until 66 days later. He then had to learn from scratch how to do the most basic tasks like walking, talking and eating. Besides the physical limitations, Jules had to deal with the social and psychological problems that followed too. He felt isolated, frustrated and trapped in a body that won’t even let him bring food to his mouth without a fight.”

“He doesn’t need sympathy. He’s working to live a comfortable happy life, just like you and I are, his challenges are just a little different to ours.

All he (and I) want you to take from his story is that you need to be more mindful when you drink. Make travel plans. Don’t get wasted, it’s not worth it. Have fun while knowing your limits.”

Dangers of drinking and driving

1. Poor judgement

Alcohol plays a huge role in clouding judgement. Alcohol can impair your judgment to the point that you make bad decisions that you would not otherwise make, and would regret in the morning or when you sober up. Your loss of judgment when intoxicated can also leave you more prone to distraction when driving. You might try to text or watch something on your phone rather than focus on the road.

Even just a little bit of alcohol can influence your judgment and concentration, but there are so many things that need your undivided attention when driving that it isn’t worth the risk. You need to be able to stay in your lane, manage your speed, give the proper space and attention to other cars on the road, and obey traffic signals. Alcohol will significantly increase your chances of having an accident because of how much it can reduce your attention span.

2. Lack of coordination

Having alcohol in your system will cause your body to react more slowly to certain situations. Since your reaction time is slowed, it will increase the likelihood of an accident because you won’t be able to respond to something happening as quickly as you would if you were sober. For instance, if someone stops short in front of you or cuts you off, you may run into the back of them rather than being able to think fast, brake, and avoid an accident.

3. Decreased Vision

Being able to see clearly is massively important when driving, and excessive alcohol consumption can cause problems with your vision. Drinking may cause your vision to blur, or cause your eyes to move on their own. You may even partially lose control over your eye movement. This vision impairment can influence how you are able to judge the distance between your car and other vehicles or objects on the road.

4. Increase accident risk

Motor Vehicle Accidents are one of the leading causes of death and disability in the world. Namibia is one of the countries with the highest motor vehicle accidents fatality rate. In 2017, Namibia has experienced 2 280 crashes, 2 001 injuries and 420 deaths from 1 January until 30 July. Although many factors contribute to road crashes and accidents, most of the time, it seems to be contributed to negligent driving, speeding and drunken driving.