LIVE-SAVING TIPS: One can easily forget the correct steps to follow after a car crash. Image: ~ Shutterstock
• SA rated worst for road safety in 2013
• Few people know what to do
• What details to get after you’ve crashed
• 9 important steps to follow
The International Transport Forum's 2013 Road Safety Annual Report ranked South Africa the worst out of 36 countries in global road safety. In other words, most of us will have a car crash or perhaps even a couple in our lives.
Budget Insurance’s Martin Janse van Rensburg said: “Even though crashes are a frighteningly common occurrence on our roads, it’s shocking how many people have no idea what to do after they have had one."
The first thing to do after you are involved in an accident is to stop, advises the insurance company. In a collision that causes injury and/or death or which causes damage to property or any animal, you’re required by law to stop your vehicle.
BE SURE TO STOP
Janse van Rensburg said: “You could be fined up to R180 000, or sent to prison for up to nine years, or both if you don’t stop.
"After you’ve stopped, if you’re not badly hurt, you need to find out if others are hurt and to help them. You can be criminally charged for failing to do so. Be careful, though. If you don't know anything about first aid, you might make the injury worse."
“If you think you’re seriously injured or even concussed, don’t attempt to move out of your vehicle. Rather wait for someone to help you.
"Also, if someone is injured in the accident, the vehicles may not be moved before the police or traffic officer has arrived. However, if the accident totally blocks the passage of other vehicles, the cars can be moved sufficiently to allow vehicles to pass."
Make sure to get all the relevant information at the scene and to give yours to the other party involved, says Budget Insurance. This includes: full names; ID numbers; addresses; telephone numbers, vehicle registrations as well as descriptions of the vehicles; details of police and traffic officers and ambulance personnel and details of tow truck personnel.
“This information will assist you in claiming for insurance, or for the RAF (Road Accident Fund); third party claims as well as the police case report and in claiming the costs of repairs from the other party,” explains Janse van Rensburg.
Tips on what to do after a car crash:
• Call emergency services by dialling 10111 or 1022 for ambulance, fire brigade or the police.
• Both parties need to report the incident. If the police weren’t called to the scene of the incident then get to a police station within 24 hours.
• It’s an offence not to report an accident in which another person's property has been damaged, or in which another person is injured, even if neither of the drivers intends taking legal action.
• You’ll need to give your name, address, vehicle registration number and driver’s license to the police or traffic officer, either at the scene of the accident or at a police station.
• If you’re injured and can't report the accident immediately, then do it as soon as possible and explain why there’s been a delay in reporting it.
• Look for witnesses at the scene of the accident and get all their information in case you need to call on them for legal or insurance purposes.
• If you suspect a driver involved in the accident is drunk, then call police to the scene and ask them to perform a breathalyser test.
• Don’t let a tow truck driver railroad you into towing your car – make sure to use a tow truck authorised by your insurance company.
• Take as many pictures of the accident scene as possible with the camera on your cell phone.