Must Know: The best way to handle a car accident 

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Getting into a car accident is often a shocking and stressful experience. Having a clear understanding of what to do after an accident, as well as the correct procedure to follow, ensures you always remain calm and in control. 

We have compiled a list of steps to take in order to remain calm should an accident happen. 

  1. Don’t panic, stay calm 
  1. Ask for help 
  1. Make a note of important details 
  1. Photograph the scene 
  1. Understand your rights 
  1. Obtain a car insurance claim 

1. Don’t Panic, stay calm

The most important step in the event of a car accident is to stop immediately – especially if anyone may be injured. If you leave the scene of an accident, you are breaking the law. 

After stopping your car, activate your hazards to alert other drivers, and set up a safety triangle if you have one. This will also allow you to assess the extent of the damage, as well as any injuries sustained by you or a third party. 

Lastly, do your best to stay calm. You may be shocked, so take some time to breathe deeply and collect your thoughts. 

2. Ask for help

You will need to notify the police of the accident. It is especially important in cases where someone may have been injured. 

In the case of a minor accident, where there are no injuries and minimal damage to both cars, you will still need to report it within 24 hours to gain a case number and for insurance purposes. A third party who leaves without exchanging information with you must be reported to the police, as this is a criminal offense. 

3. Make a note of important details

Once the necessary emergency services have been notified, you’ll need to exchange information with the third party. During this time, you should avoid admitting fault of any kind, whether you were at fault or not – the insurer will determine this once the investigation has begun. 

It’s a good idea to keep a pen and paper in your car to note down various details from the third party. Your smart device can also be used to record the details. In order to obtain insurance, you must take down: 

  • Driver’s full name 
  • Driver’s ID number 
  • Driver’s phone number and email address 
  • Vehicle model, make and registration number 
  • Vehicle owner’s name and contact number (if different from driver) 
  • Vehicle owner’s insurance company name 
  • If there is a witness, their full name and contact number 

4. Photograph the scene

The next step is to note the details surrounding the accident to help with insurance claims. 

Using your smartphone, take pictures of the scene. Make sure you take pictures of: 

  • Road layout when the incident occurred 
  • Position of both involved vehicles 
  • If there are any skid marks on the road 
  • Both vehicles’ collision points 
  • Damages to both vehicles 
  • Licence plate number and vehicle licence disc on the windscreen of the third-party vehicle

5. Understand your rights

As you record the incident and exchange information with the third party, several tow truck drivers may arrive, eager to secure your business. If you feel intimidated or uncomfortable, you should know your rights: 

  • Tow truck operators and police officers cannot force you to choose a specific provider. 
  • Police officers can be reported to the nearest police station if they intimidate you into choosing a particular tow truck driver. Take note of their name before doing so. 
  • Let the tow truck drivers know you have reported the accident to CC&A, and an authorised service provider is on the way. 
  • Following a collision, the police department must remove obstructions to traffic; tow truck drivers must stay within their bounds. 

6. Obtain a car insurance claim

Having gathered all relevant information, taken photo’s, had your vehicle safely towed and obtained a SAPS case number, you will need to make an insurance claim. 

Additionally, you can make a claim by:

  • Online claim submission 
  • Contact us on (031) 716 6000 – KZN or (011) 463 0085 – Gauteng 
  • Send us an email with your ID number or details of your policy 

All correspondence from the third party should be passed on to CC&A, so that we can manage the process fully. 

To navigate safely through life’s more challenging circumstances, ensure you have all the support you need – and that’s why the CC&A team are here to help you.