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What you need to know about roadblocks

Published on: 08 December 2016

What you need to know about roadblocks

While you’re enjoying the roads this December, just keep in mind that it is also roadblock season. So whether you are driving around from mall to mall or to your holiday destination, chances are you will encounter a roadblock.

As much as they may seem like an inconvenience, there is an upside to having roadblocks – they are actually there for our safety and well-being as road users. 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.

With that said, it is important to know your rights as a road user so that you know how 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 five tips to get you through a roadblock.

  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. For more information on what you can get arrested for at a roadblock, visit Arrive Alive.
  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. In South Africa you have the right to film (or record) the officers that you believe are acting unlawfully – this is a good way to gather evidence.

Remember to remain calm throughout the process and not aggravate the situation.

Choose the safer option to get around this festive season after a night out, choose WeDrive and let MiWay get you home safely without the stress of roadblocks. Responsible driving is about more than just caring for yourself, it’s playing your part as a good citizen.

Sources:
- http://www.wheels24.co.za/News/Guides_and_Lists/8-things-you-should-know-when-dealing-with-roadblocks-in-sa-20160419
- http://rekordcenturion.co.za/82993/things-you-should-know-about-a-roadblock/
- https://www.aa.co.za/services/technical-services/legal-advice/legal-questions/what-are-my-rights-when-stopped-by-a-traffic-officerij.html