Of shiny new supercars, drink-driving and keeping your cool in an accident

Blackburn Rovers’ striker El Hadji Diouf has followed a trend synonymous with many high-flying footballers by treating himself to a shiny brand-new vehicle that is sure to get him all the extra attention he requires when off-pitch.

The Senegalese footballer has added to his collection of prestige motors a chrome-plated Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, which apart from being worth a cool £420,000, also boasts being the fastest convertible in the world.

From standstill, the vehicle is capable of hitting 60mph in just 3.6 seconds and reaches a top speed of 207mph.

It is easy to see why Diouf may have been lured to the German machine because, according to the vehicle’s manufacturer, its “long, sweeping lines Ö deliver an automotive work of art, exuding extraordinary, road-hugging class”.

The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren “redefines limits, allowing its spectacular design and extreme performance to produce the ultimate experience” – features that may have seduced the 28-year-old footballer into treating himself to one.

A Manchester street was recently brought to a standstill when the footballer was spotted going for a bite and maybe a drink with a friend at the city’s trendy Living Room joint last week.

Millions willing to drink and drive

Hopefully, the footballer opted for a non-alcoholic drink – especially if he was the one driving afterwards because recent figures have shown that more than one million motorists in the UK would risk drinking and driving.

According to research from Direct Line Car Insurance, more than 1.3 million drivers are willing to do this on a night out in order to save money by not opting for a taxi home – and younger motorists are the most likely to indulge in this.

What makes the situation even more precarious is the fact that the young motorists ñ aged 18 to 34 years – have a habit of filling their vehicles with friends, which means that if something was to go wrong a lot more lives would be at risk.

Eight per cent of this age group would risk the lives of other road users, their passengers and themselves compared to just three per cent of those aged between 35 to 54 years old, with the percentage dropping to just one per cent among the over 55s, the research found.

Commenting on the findings, Direct Line car Insurance head Maggie Game said it is “frightening that individuals are willing to risk the lives of others in order to save on taxi fares.

“It’s worrying to see the number of people who would drink and drive because they feel saving a few pounds outweighs the risk to themselves and others,” she stated.

“There is no excuse for drink driving, as a few hours of fun and a saved taxi fare could result in a lifetime of misery.”

However, the research also found something positive – while 13 per cent are now choosing to drive to their favourite hang-out and not take any alcoholic drinks to avoid the taxi home, 23 per cent choose to drink closer to home so that they could walk back rather than take a taxi.

What happens if you have a fender bender?

The fact that some people are willing to drink and drive means that other law abiding motorists may find themselves entangled in a situation that could have been avoided.

So what happens then if such a situation occurs?

According to car insurance expert Admiral, it is advisable to “remain calm, polite and helpful even if the other driver is agitated or upset” and refrain from discussing who is responsible for the debacle because this is the insurance company’s territory.

Having a digital camera in your car or a camera-phone may also be a wise thing because the insurance expert recommends taking photographs of the damage and location of the accident, but only if it is safe to do so.

Exchanging details with the other motorist such as full name and address as well as trying to get two or three telephone numbers is also vital as is ensuring you have the name of their car insurance provider. These details should be handed over to your insurer at the earliest opportunity.

Although it has to be done cautiously, motorists should also “discretely check if the other driver’s tax disk is out of date”, advises Admiral, which states that police should be contacted if it is because “an out of date tax disk could mean an uninsured driver”.

In addition to having copies of your vehicle’s insurance details in your car, it is also recommended to have a pen and some paper, which should be used to note down details such as make, model, colour, registration number and anything unusual about the other car.

Witnesses to the accident should never be ignored and their details should also be noted down because they could come in handy in if the third party denies liability.

According to Admiral claims director Stuart Morgan, getting involved in a car accident can be very stressful and panic-inducing no matter how minor the incident may be.

However, he stated that “by following these tips you should be able to make the incident less traumatic for yourself and make your subsequent claim run more smoothly”.

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