Have you ever wondered what you should do in the event of a car accident? I know I have – and frankly too many people are confused when it comes to the procedures following an accident. We received some information from the AA of South Africa, and they told us what the law states about car accidents.
In terms of Section 61 of the National Road Traffic Act (93 of 1996), a driver is obliged to do the following when involved in a vehicle accident:
1. Immediately stop the vehicle
2. Ascertain the nature and extent of any injury sustained
If a person is injured, render assistance as he / she is capable of rendering.
3. Ascertain the nature and extent of damage sustained.
4. If required to do so, give his / her name and address, the name and address of the owner of the vehicle, as well as the registration number to any person having reasonable grounds for the information
5. Report the accident at a police station within 24 hours and produce the drivers licence.
6. Do not take any intoxicating liquor or narcotic drug unless prescribed by a medical practitioner.
On a practical level being involved in an accident is a traumatic event. It is quite easy to forget your responsibilities and to act out of character, however it is very important to make sure that as the driver you obtain as much information from the driver of the other vehicle. Typically you would need the other driver’s name and address, identity number, make of vehicle as well as the vehicle registration number. If either of the driver’s are injured and cannot communicate, one would need to obtain as much information as possible about that driver.
You would also need to accurately identify the location of the accident. If necessary, measure it by pacing out the distance to a recognisable fixed point. A simple sketch plan of the accident could prove to be invaluable – especially if a court case results from the collision. Photographs of the vehicles, where a camera is available, is always a good idea.
If your vehicle needs to be towed to a panel beater, contact your insurer and be guided by them as to who to call to do the recovery and where to take the vehicle.
When dealing with recovery companies, always establish the towing and recovery rate and never sign a blank towing form. Once again you would need to obtain as much information about the tow operator as possible before you agree to the recovery.
Also remember that, if you come across an accident on the side of the road- always stop and help if you can and if you are with someone else preferably. You never know when you might save a life.