What to do if you get into a car accident this holiday season
JOHANNESBURG - As we head into the festive season, a car accident is the last thing we want to think about. In fact being stuck with a damaged car and potentially injured passengers hundreds of kilometres from home is a nightmare scenario. But nonetheless it is important to know what to do if you do get into an accident.
To that end, MasterDrive managing director Eugene Herbert has some valuable advice for motorists:
“Once you have ensured that people and cars are out of the way of secondary collisions, check if there are any injuries. If there are, call emergency services immediately and do not try to move or treat their injuries yourself”.
“While you should not move injured people, it is still better to move them if they are in harm’s way, for example if fuel from the car is at risk of igniting. Never assist someone without first obtaining their or a fellow passenger’s permission. Also be cautious of assuming passengers and drivers are not injured because they are conscious and responding. If someone is dizzy or not feeling right, rather call emergency services,” Herbert adds.
Once you have handled injuries, decide what to do with the vehicle.
“Luckily, much of the decision-making has been removed from you as insurance companies have specific processes to follow,” Herbert says.
“The key is to understand what your insurance provider wants you to do and have the necessary numbers and apps saved or downloaded on your phone before you leave. Unfortunately, valuable items can disappear in the hubbub after a crash, so keep this information somewhere else in the car as well.”
Other handy tips to know
In case you are unresponsive, have emergency numbers, medical aid details and other essential info stuck to your visor or on one of the windows.
Before you move vehicles out of the way of potential secondary accidents take photos of the car for insurance purposes. Do this as quickly as possible.
Swap details with the driver of the other vehicle/s, get their insurance details and take photos of the documents if you can.
Record as many details as possible including date, time, weather conditions, location, type of road on which the crash occurred, for example intersection or highway and the direction each vehicle was travelling.
Try recall details such as whether the driver was on their phone or possibly intoxicated.
Herbert reiterates that, as difficult as it might be, it always helps to remain as calm as possible:
“Getting angry with other drivers or panicking serves no purpose, especially if others are injured. Accept that it happened and handle the situation as best as you can,” Herbert concluded.