JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – A road accident can happen to anybody no matter their age, driving experience, or care so, according to a major insurer, you need to know what to do… just in case.
Why? Because what you do can affect any insurance claim(s) you might have to make.
WesBank says reporting a minor accident can all be sorted and a case number filed online and free-of-charge through a legally binding system on the National Traffic Information System (NaTIS) website. ”The new system,” WesBank says, ”completely removes the admin of having to physically visit a police station and generates an automated crash report number that can be used for insurance purposes.”
WHAT TO DO…
Drivers must report the accident within 24 hours or the next working day but only if nobody was injured or killed or after a hit-and-run, or if the road incident involved five or more vehicles.
WesBank has outlined other important thing to consider or remember…
First, stay calm, then… get out the notebook and pen and the warning triangle that you have in your car, just in case… and have cellphone in hand. Oh, you don’t have all those things? OK, off to the shops and the car-parts store, buy them, and put them in the boot in a plastic bag… and hope you never need to use them.
”Regardless of who’s at fault,” WesBank says, ”an accident can be a stressful and fearful. You may feel a rush of emotions which can distract you from what’s happening. Take a deep breath, try to focus on what you need to do next….”
Any passengers in your car? Make sure they’re not hurt. Not all injuries are visible so if anyone, including yourself, is feeling dizzy or is in pain, call emergency medical services immediately. Keep the numbers in the notebook that you bought, didn’t you?
ASK FOR OTHER DRIVER(S’) DETAILS
Move any vehicles that are disrupting traffic when it is safe to do so but FIRST make sure you document each vehicle’s position on the road or road shoulder by taking pictures of the scene with a cellphone or marking the road with chalk or spray paint (if to hand). If you can, take pictures of any damage to all vehicles involved.
If a vehicle cannot be moved and you need to call a towing service (notebook again, hey?) try to set up warning devices or triangles around the incident to warn other drivers about the incident.
Approach the other drivers involved and ask for important details:
Driving licence (photographs again) to record identification such as ID numbers. Obtain home, cell, and business phone numbers. Ask for addresses (home/business, e-mail) and gather as much information as possible on the vehicles: registration numbers, licence disc (photographs again) and description of the vehicle(s) – make, model, colour).
Make sure that you ask for their insurance information (if available) as well. Take photos of all documents if possible.
WAS ANY DRIVER DRUNK?
Note everything you see about the accident, starting with the date, time and weather. Describe in detail all that you observe, such as the vehicles involved, the streets, traffic signs and the direction from which each vehicle was coming. Don’t forget to write down the location of the incident: street name and suburb.
Remember to take note of what you believe caused the incident: is any other driver drunk, was talking on a cellphone, driving too fast?
…AND A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR
Lebogang Gaoaketse, marketing and communication manager at WesBank, said: “Accidents can happen to anybody. It’s important to remain calm and ensure that you note all the required information to ensure that processing your insurance claim is less stressful.
”We encourage drivers to use the online reporting process for minor crashes now available on the NaTIS website and to familiarise themselves with the tips we’ve provided.”