Travel Safe 
What to do when you’re in a car accident? 

Until it actually happens to you, you may not be aware of how stressful it is to be involved in a road traffic accident, even if it is just a bumper-bashing. Being prepared by knowing what to do and what your rights are, will certainly relieve some of the stress.

The top 10 points to remember

Or simply keep this article in your cubby hole/glove box with your insurance information.

1. Stop, turn off the ignition and pull up the hand brake. This may sound like com- mon sense, but when you are in shock you don’t think normally.

2. Put on your hazard lights. In some vehicles they will come on automatically. 

3. Take a few seconds to calm down and breathe, you are no good to anyone if you are panicking. Assess any injuries to yourself or passengers in the vehicle.

4. Get out of the car and put up your safety triangles if the scene requires other traffic to be warned of the danger.

5. In the case of a simple bumper-bashing, take photos of the scene and vehicles, exchange details, then move out of the way of the traffic.

6. If there are no injuries and minimal dam- age to vehicles you do not have to inform the police or wait on the scene for them to arrive. However, you DO have to report the accident to the police in order to get a case number for an insurance claim.

7. If the third party, other vehicle involved in the accident, leaves the scene with- out exchanging details with you, you must call the police, and wait at the scene, as this is a criminal offence.

8. Should the accident be more serious, and someone is injured, you need to call the police and emergency services immediately, and NOT move the

9. Call your insurance company’s emergency roadside assist, if this is not an automatic feature already installed in your vehicle.

10. Now call a family member or friend to support you.

• Get from the third party: Name, ID number, contact number, address and insurance details.

• Take note of any circumstances you feel may have contributed to the accident, such as the third party talking on their cell phone, not paying attention, or perhaps even drinking.

• The date, time and place of the car accident.

• The make, model, colour and registra- tion number of any other vehicles

• The details of the owner of the vehicle, if they are not the driver, such as name, address, and all phone numbers.

• The names and addresses of any witnesses.

• The name of the police/traffic officer who arrives, and the name of their
police station.

• The name and cell phone number of the tow truck driver who tows the
vehicle, as well as the name of the panel beater to which they will take
your car.

• You will need to take pictures of:
– The position of both (all) vehicles involved.
– The damage to both (all) vehicles.
– Skid marks (if any).
– The layout of the road from various angles.
– The collision points on both (all) vehicles.
– License plates numbers of any vehicles involved.

• Alternatively, you can make a sketch of the scene.

• Even if you think that you caused the accident, DO NOT admit blame at the scene; this is for the insurance company to determine once an investigation has been done and all necessary informa- tion has been assessed.

• Do not be coerced by tow truck drivers to use their services. Should your vehicle need to be towed, your insurance company will let you know which towing service may do so.

• Do not let anyone tell you that you may not speak to the driver of the other
vehicle. This is not only your right, it is necessary!


If you feel intimidated by a traffic officer or the police in any way at all, DO NOT react aggressively, just make sure that you get their name and/or badge number, then report them to the nearest police station.


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