“The chances of being in a car accident in South Africa are an ‘astonishing’ one in 101,” says the Automobile Association of South Africa.
South Africa’s road accident statistics are incredibly high, making South Africa one of the most dangerous countries in the world to drive in. Make sure you know what to do if you’re ever involved in an accident.
1. Stay at the scene.
First of all, STOP! If you were in any way involved in the accident, by law you have to stop. So if you or your vehicle contributed in any way to the damaging of any property or people, you have to stay at the scene until authorities have gathered the required information from you.
2. Help anyone who has been hurt!
Next, help anyone who has been hurt – call the emergency services and/or SAPS. If you don’t know anything about first aid, be careful not to do anything to make any injuries worse! So apart from getting an individual out of immediate danger, it would probably be best to wait until someone who knows what they’re doing is there.
3. Get the details of everyone involved.
Get the details of all individuals involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses. These should include:
- Full names
- ID numbers
- Telephone details
- Vehicle registration numbers
Apart from those involved, it would also be a good idea to get the details of:
- The vehicles involved in the accident (general description)
- The police and traffic officers at the scene
- The ambulance personnel
- Any tow truck drivers that moved any vehicles
4. Report the accident
If no one has been hurt, then the police do not have to be called to the scene of the accident. However, the accident still has to be reported to the police within 24 hours. It is an offence not to report an accident in which another person’s property has been damaged, or another person has been injured.
5. Don’t move anything until the police have said you can.
Do not interfere with the evidence! If anyone has been injured then none of the vehicles or any potential evidence can be moved until a police officer has given the OK.
Be aware of the legal consequences. These include:
a criminal charge of driving recklessly
a criminal charge of driving negligently
a criminal charge of culpable homicide
a civil claim for damage to property
a civil claim for personal injury.