Feb 2018 1st Edition

Four things to do if you are involved in an accident

Being in an accident can have costly consequences if not managed properly.

The main factors that can lead to an accident are distracted or drunk driving, speeding and reckless driving, running red lights, night driving, potholes and animal crossings. It is important to be alert and maintain a safe following distance. Rather arrive at your destination a bit later than never.

Accidents can happen despite all the precautions a driver takes, however. Here are a few important things you should do which could save you a lot of angst, time and money.

Think ahead

When you travel, always make sure loved ones know where you are going. Also, save family members and friends’ details on your cellphone. Should you not be in a position to notify your loved ones of an accident, bystanders will be able to access them via your phone.

It is also crucial to ensure you have the contact numbers for emergency services.

In addition, make sure your personal affairs are in order and that you have car and life insurance so that in the event of a fatal accident, your family will be taken care of.

Pull over

Being involved in an accident and making a run for it is punishable by law. Pull your car off to the side of the road where it is safe. Enquire if the second party is alright or in need of medical attention and when you can, check your own car for damage.

Be careful about what you say next

When you are involved in an accident, it is important to stay calm. Do not get upset or start apologising profusely as the other party can use this against you to force you to pay for damages, even if the accident was not your fault. Rather tell your side of the story to the police and insurance company when you make a statement.

Jot down a few notes

Once you have safely parked your vehicle, swop insurance details with the party who was also involved in the accident. Jot down their names and contact details as well as the model of the car, the date, time and location. It is advisable to call the police whilst you are still on the scene of the accident.

Take photos of both vehicles

Be sure to take photos of the damage caused to both your vehicle and the other person’s vehicle. Ask to take a photo of the other party’s driver’s licence and ID. Also take photos of the surrounding area so it is easy to identify exactly where the accident took place and to verify your story.

Did you know?

The Road Accident Fund (RAF) is an organisation that provides social insurance cover to South African road users. For more information, contact RAF from Mondays to Fridays on
0860 23 55 23.   

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