Getting into a motor vehicle accident can be nerve-wracking. In the heat of the moment, you could panic or forget simple details. Marius Neethling, Manager Personal Lines Underwriting at Santam, says staying calm is vital. “Keeping a checklist in your cubbyhole is a very practical way of being prepared in the event of an accident.”
He says that, by taking the following simple steps after an accident, you can take charge of the situation.
STEP 1: CHECK
If possible, stop your vehicle, switch on your hazards and check the road and surrounding area.
Check whether you or anyone in your car or the other vehicle is injured. If there are injuries, do not move your car or provide medical care unless you have been trained in first aid.
Get out of your car to check the extent of the damage.
STEP 2: LOG
Take as many photos as possible of the accident, your car and the other vehicle from different angles.
Ensure you write down the following details: Full names and surnames of all drivers; ID numbers; contact details, including a mobile number and email address; vehicle registration numbers of all cars; the make, model and colour of all vehicles involved in the collision; and the names and contact numbers of all emergency personnel such as police, traffic officials, tow truck drivers and medical workers.
Write down the details of the accident, including how it occurred, the exact location, the time and the road conditions and visibility.
STEP 3: CALL
If any injuries have occurred, call 112 from your South African mobile number. Keep in mind that while this service is available 24/7, there may be delays in response times depending on your location.
Report the incident at the nearest police station within 24 hours of the accident taking place. If you are hospitalised due to injury, report the incident as soon as possible. Don’t forget to include a reason for the delay.
Report the incident to your insurance company, even if you don’t intend to claim for your own vehicle’s damage.
It’s important to remember not to accept any liability for the accident, even if you were at fault. It’s best to let the authorities or your insurer handle this.
“Do not allow your car to be towed by anyone other than a service provider that’s been authorised by your insurance company or, if you are not insured, is able to provide you with details of a quote, storage facility and location,” says Neethling.
“Services such as these are often not well understood so are often not used. However, research has shown that these services will help meet the needs of our clients and, therefore, we offer it at no additional cost.”
In addition to roadside assistance, Santam’s SOS services also include home assistance for call-outs of service providers such as plumbers and electricians, home-drive assistance within a 50-kilometre radius of the city centres, route assistance within South Africa, medical assistance and trauma counselling, and a 24-hour legal advice helpline.