So you had too much to drink or you are too tired to drive? And you think about handing over your car keys to someone else to drive you home? Stop and think, warns Angelo Haggiyannes, director of Auto & General Insurance.
Many of us give our car keys to our friends or children knowing that they are not covered by our insurance or, worse still, that they don't have a valid driver's licence, without thinking of the financial consequences, let alone the moral repercussions.
Haggiyannes says your insurance company will not pay your claim for damages caused by a person who is not covered by your insurance to drive your car.
"Worse still, if anyone is hurt or dies in an accident involving your vehicle while someone else, who is not covered in terms of your policy, is driving it, you could be held personally liable," he says.
"Even if your child takes your car for a joyride without you knowing it, depending on the circumstances, you could be held liable for the damages suffered by someone else."
Haggiyannes referred to a court judgement - S Wessels v BC Pretorius - where a court found a teenage boy's father liable for the injuries suffered by another teenage boy while his son was driving his car.
He said it is not unheard of for a court to find an owner of a vehicle vicariously liable for damage or injury resulting from an accident caused by someone else while driving the insured's car.
"Obviously, there are other mitigating circumstances that will be considered, but the point is that it can happen," says Haggiyannes.
So what are the options if you've have had too much to drink or is too tired to drive?
Haggiyannes says: "Get someone to pick you up. If this is not possible, leave your car parked securely and get someone else to drive you home in their car."
An alternative is a "toot and scoot" service where someone arrives in a little fold-up moped, puts it in your boot, drives you home then drives back to the depot on the moped.
Haggiyannes says: "If you attend an event where there is a likelihood that you will be drinking, make arrangements beforehand for someone to pick you up or nominate someone who is not going to drink the designated driver."
He says if you are going on a long journey and if there is the possibility that you could become fatigued, plan to stopover so that you can rest and get some sleep before you continue your journey.
He reminds vehicle owners that it is a good idea to include other members of the family such a spouse or a child with a driver's licence on their motor insurance policy as regular drivers of your vehicle.
This is a good idea if the family is planning a long trip and the driving is going to be shared, or if other members of the family regularly use the owner's vehicle.
Haggiyannes says that the onus is on the owner of the vehicle to make sure that when he or she allows someone else to drive his or her car, that that individual is licensed and insured to drive the owner's car.
This means that that person must be over the driving-age limit, have a valid driver's licence, insurance cover and be fit and able to drive, he says.