What To Do When You're Involved In An Accident

There will be minor accidents and then there will be more serious collisions involving bodily injuries. What to do in each case will differ, but the basic procedures are similar.

Immediately After the Accident Occurs

Assuming you yourself are not hurt; this is a step-by-step checklist to follow as soon as an accident happens:

  1. Stop – no matter how minor an accident may seem, driving away from an accident is a criminal offence. Besides the fact that any damages you decide to claim for will be rejected, it’s simply the human thing to do.
  2. Unless you’re blocking the flow of traffic, do not move your car until an officer has arrived on the scene and taken down details. Failing that, be sure to take clear photographs to mark the position of the vehicles before moving them, as well as the damage made.
  3. Ensure the scene is visible as a warning to other motorists – switch on your hazards and use your warning triangle.
  4. Assess the situation. Is anyone hurt?
    1. Yes? Proceed as follows:
      1. Do not move the injured person.
      2. Call the ambulance 10177 and take note of the street name and nearest corner of your location.
      3. Call the South African Police Service 10111
      4. If you cannot remember the above numbers call the general emergency number 112 who will put you through to the relevant department
    2. No? Proceed as follows:
      1. See point 1. Exchange details with the other driver
        • Full names
        • ID number
        • Residential address
        • Telephone numbers
        • Car registration number
        • Description of vehicle: make, model, colour
        • Insurance company details
      2. Note details of the accident
        • Date and time
        • Location
        • Eyewitnesses
        • Tow truck information
        • Names and station of police officers

After Leaving the Accident Scene

As soon as possible:

  1. Report the accident within 24 hours at the nearest police station. This is especially important if the other party is not covered by insurance. You should receive an accident report number.
  2. Notify your insurance company – you will need to provide your policy number, accident report number, and all the detailed information you noted at the scene.
  3. Go for a medical check-up – high impact collisions can cause sudden jerks to your body affecting your internal organs and skeletal structure. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent so taking a little time off to do this is worth avoiding potential issues afterwards.

Disclaimer: This information is for educational, or entertainment purposes only. It must not be construed as advice, medical, legal, financial, or otherwise. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information. The views and opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of Auto Pedigree.