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Crash course – What to do when you get into an accident.

Have you ever been the first to arrive at an accident scene or been in one yourself? It can be overwhelming and stressful, which causes you to make silly mistakes or not follow the right process, so here are five easy-to-remember Do’s and Don’ts so that you do things right, without making yourself liable for a lawsuit at a later date.

Do – Stop and Help

If you are the first to arrive at the scene of an accident and can help, do everything you can to assist, until the police can get there. If anyone is injured on the scene, get professional help immediately by calling the police on 10111 and giving them the location of the accident. If your car is involved in the accident, you need to stop immediately. If you don’t, you’re committing a crime and can face a fine of up to R180 000 or nine years in jail, or both.

Do – Get all information

If you’re involved in the accident, be sure to get all information from the other person you have collided with. This includes the driver’s full name, ID number, address, telephone numbers and vehicle registration number. Also, try to get the name and contact details of at least one witness who saw the accident happen, if possible. This will help you later if the circumstances are contested, i.e., which driver was at fault. Be sure to take pictures of the vehicles from all sides before they are moved.

Do – Report the accident

Even if no one was hurt, you are still legally required to report the accident within 24 hours to your nearest police station. You will need to give your name, address, show your driver’s licence and the police will file an accident report.

Don’t – Interfere/Tamper with evidence

If someone has been injured in the accident, the vehicles may not be moved until the police give permission. If they are blocking the road, they can only be moved after their position has been marked in the road with spray paint or similar. If the vehicles are moved beforehand, it can be seen as evidence tampering and could ultimately get you into a lot of trouble.

Don’t – Get into an argument

If you are involved in an accident, the important thing is to stay calm. It won’t help to get into a fight with the other driver, even if they’re in the wrong. This could quickly escalate and make things worse. Take a deep breath, get all their details for insurance purposes and live to drive another day! If it looks like they’re going to leave the scene without giving you their details, be sure to take note of their registration number so you can report it to the police.

These Do’s and Don’ts are sure to prepare you for when the unexpected accident happens. You will know exactly what to do and how to react, and be less stressed.