Road safety and breakdown experts GEM Motoring Assist has issued a new list of driving safety tips ahead of the rugby world cup which kicks off this weekend.

Many people will be heading out to watch the matches in pubs across the country, providing an unfortunate opportunity to get into trouble.

"Let’s ensure any penalties are confined to the rugby field," said GEM road safety officer Neil Worth. "After all, anyone convicted of drink-driving faces a mandatory ban of at least 12 months, with a fine of up to £5,000 and a possible prison sentence of up to six months."

"So we’re urging fans to plan how they get home if they’re going out to watch a match. Pre-book a taxi, or share lifts and agree a designated driver who will stay on soft drinks."

Man trying to take control of the steering wheel in risky situation

"Be careful when walking home. Pedestrians who have had a few drinks are at greater risk; alcohol impairs judgement and reduces the ability to judge speed and distance. It can also increase willingness to take risks, often resulting in pedestrians stumbling into the road and being hit by drivers who have no chance of avoiding them."

"We’ll be cheering for all the home nations in Japan, and we certainly don’t want to spoil anyone’s enjoyment of the match. However, we are committed to helping reduce the risks of injury faced by pedestrians who may have had one drink too many, so we encourage fans to look out for each other and get home safely."

Police traffic stop

GEM has the following safety tips to ensure safe enjoyment of the World Cup

  • If you plan to party into the evening, make sure you can be seen easily as you walk home, especially now that nights are drawing in.

  • Never let your friends walk home drunk on their own.

  • If you’re going out to your club or a pub to watch the rugby, then pre-book your taxi home, or share lifts and agree a designated driver for each match.

  • If you need to drive home, don’t take any risks. Stay on soft drinks while you’re out.

  • If you end up celebrating with a few extra late-night drinks at home, then don’t plan to drive the following morning as you could still be over the drink-drive limit.