What you need to know about roadblocks

Image from Shutterstock.

The festive season is undoubtedly the busiest time of the year and although the whole premise of the festive season is to enjoy and be safe; chances are, while doing your driving from mall to mall or even heading to your holiday destination or driving back, you are bound to encounter a road block.

Even though roadblocks can be intimidating, they are essential for crime fighting – with vehicles used to traffic drugs being nabbed during these ‘’stop and searches’’. With that said, all motorists should know their rights in order to face a roadblock with calmness and confidence.

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.

Responsible driving goes a long way and it is about adhering to road rules and regulations and playing your role as a good citizen. Also remember to choose a safer option this festive season if you will be going out at night; MiWay’s take-me-home service, WeDrive ensures that you get home safely without having to stress yourself about roadblocks.

– 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


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