Being involved in a road accident can be devastating. Besides having had a brush with injury or death, there is the trauma and the aftermath that need to be dealt with. Being on the scene, can be confusing and overwhelming, and you might not know which steps to take to be safe and to meet your legal obligations.
There are, however, set guidelines you can follow to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the scene.
The National Road Traffic Act : Section 61 Accidents and Accident Reports stipulate the procedure to follow if you are involved in a road crash.
The step-by-step process when you are involved in a road crash is:
Stop your vehicle
As soon as you realise that you have been involved in a collision, you need to park your car on the side of the road. This is preferably in the yellow line, or a demarcated area on the road so that you do not obstruct traffic flow.
Help anyone who is hurt
Firstly, assess whether you or anyone in your vehicle is injured. If so, call the appropriate services such as the ambulance. Being a member of a service like iER is very helpful. Pressing just one button will have the appropriate emergency services on their way to you in minutes.
Find out what the extent of the damage is
Once everyone has been checked and secured, and the emergency services are on their way, assess the damage to the vehicles, once it is safe to do so. If you can, take pictures of all the visible damage. Make sure that you aren’t in the way of other cars when you do so as this could cause another accident. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Get all relevant information relating to the crash
Make sure you swap insurance information with the other drivers involved. Take down the licence plate numbers of the other cars, as well as the particulars of the owners and drivers of the other cars.
Report the road crash to the police (even if it is only damage)
Call the police, so that they can open an official file on the accident. More major accidents need to be investigated for insurance claims and for foul play.
Do not interfere with the evidence on the scene