The December holiday is a special time to share with family and friends. It is also a crucial time to be alert and safe on South Africa’s roads. Last year, Transport Minister, Dipuo Peters, announced 1 253 crashes recorded from December 1, 2015, to January 11, 2016.
“Whilst not all accidents result in fatalities, being involved in an accident is still a traumatic experience and people often do not remember exactly what to do,” says Derek Wilson, Head of online insurance and financial comparison website, Hippo.co.za.
Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do should you be involved in an accident:
Stop and check — stop the vehicle, switch on your hazards and check whether anyone is injured or requires medical attention. If so, contact emergency services immediately. Dial 10177 for an ambulance and 10111 or 112 for police.
Do not move the vehicle — accidents usually result in traffic problems and you may want to move your vehicle to clear traffic. Do not move the vehicle until it has been cleared by necessary authorities such as the Metro Police.
Do not admit fault — try and avoid apologising at the scene and let your insurer determine who was at fault as you can be held liable regardless of what happened once you admit fault.
Capture information — take down details such as name, surname, ID number, license, contact numbers, address, email address and the name of the insurer of the driver of the other vehicle. Remember to take down vehicle details such as make and model, registration number, license number and also take pictures of the incident if you are able to. Also take down names and contact numbers of any passengers and witnesses.
Check the towing company — Towing companies are usually the first to arrive at an accident scene but remember to first clear any towing with your insurer before allowing a towing company to remove the vehicle. Towing companies who are not authorised by your insurer will charge you for the towing costs as well as parking the vehicle at their premises and may not release your vehicle until you have paid them in full.
Contact your insurer — Contact your insurer to clear towing if necessary and also to notify them of the incident and disclose as much information as you can including time of the accident, street names, incident description and details of third parties.
Report the accident to the police — Insurers require a case number from the police in order to process any vehicle accident claim. Report the incident immediately or within 24 hours to the police station nearest to the accident scene.
“It is also a good time to save some extra holiday spending money by comparing Car Insurance quotes and benefits from a range of South African providers,” concludes Wilson, “You could save hundreds of Rands per month* on your Car Insurance alone by using Hippo.co.za to compare before you buy or switch to a new provider.”