What to Do After a Crash: Top 5 Tips

  Colin Windell


 22 Jun, 2022

South Africa has one of the worst – if not the worst – road crash records.

It seems not to matter how often this is said, published or vocalised. There are no concrete measures in place to address the scourge, and, as drivers, we deal with it.

Indeed, some organisations work tirelessly to improve matters and encourage proper driver training. However, they are often simply barking against the thunder of apathy from the Government – but that’s another story.

You have found your dream car on Carshop.co.za and are taking your prized possession to your mate’s place to show it off - bang - you are involved in a crash.

What happens next?

First and foremost, check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Once that is done, you need to ascertain if there are any injuries in the other vehicle.

If anyone is injured, you must call the police and, if the injury is severe, an ambulance service.

Here are the Top 5 Tips:

  1. Difficult as it may be with the post-event adrenaline flooding your veins – stay cool and calm and avoid making rash decisions or doing anything silly that could have serious ramifications down the line. Also, remember whatever happens is likely to be filmed by someone’s cell phone and posted online for the world to see. If need be, walk away from the area, take a few breaths, and collect your thoughts before communicating with the other person(s) involved.
  2. Although the car may seem like a priority, the safety of passengers and other parties should always take precedence. 
  3. If your vehicle is still moving after the crash, stop it as quickly as possible and turn off the ignition to help mitigate further damage and lessen the chances of a fire.
  4. After calls to the police or emergency services and, if it is safe to do so, you may want to call a friend or family member to help you deal with the situation.
  5. Do not apologise or make accusations. Keep communication with the other party to a mere exchange of relevant information. Making a public apology can point the liability finger at you, even if you are not in the wrong (remember those cell phones). Make sure to get all the necessary details that you need from the other driver before you leave. It is advisable to get their name, address, insurance details and the description of the incident. Note the make and model of the other car(s) involved, any witnesses, and additional crucial information. And take photographs of the scene before any of the vehicles are moved.

Pictures should show vivid angles of the whole scene, images of the damage and skid marks if applicable.

The conditions of your insurance contract will determine where your car goes from the scene.

The law dictates that you report the accident to a nearby police station within 24 hours if there were no police at the scene. You will need that Case Number to give to your insurance company when you lodge a claim.

Crashes, even minor ones, are frightening and traumatic events and remembering these tips will not make it better, just a lot more bearable.

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