By Mumtaz Moosa Saley
Surprisingly, many people ask on social media about the steps to take when they have been involved in a minor motor vehicle accident. From my experience, I have learnt a few tips and tricks.
Let me tell you about one of my recent incidents – it was a typical sunny South African summer day when Eskom decided that we were having enough energy from Mother Nature, and shutting off the electricity would help us cool down! That means traffic lights no longer operate this particular morning, the driver of a car skipped the four-way stop rule at the traffic light and came straight at me. My fender took a beating and his tail lights, well let’s just say, I won!
We proceeded to exchange details and went off on our separate ways. Three months later his insurance company contacts me and places the blame for the accident on me. Unfortunately, for me, a good Samaritan who stopped and shared his details as well as the promise of sending me the dash-cam footage from his camera had lost my details and deleted the recording.
Needless to say, this incident left me in an awkward situation and certainly out of pocket. But it spurred me to learn more about what needs to be done should you c
Here are some tips
- Remain calm, do not let your anger overtake you. Being calm opens lines of communication with the person involved.
- Take a photo of the cars (you may need this.). If the cars both can be moved to a safer part of the road, then do so.
- Your emotions will run high and you may not even be able to think clearly as you are shaken up, do not admit to anything. If you have a dash-cam, the footage will be of help. If not, and there are no witnesses, do not admit as your body is already in fight or flight mode.
- Always keep a pen and book in your car, you will need the other drivers’ contact details, my suggestion to you is called his/her number while you are together to ensure correct details are given. Take down the vehicle registration number, drivers name and phone number and take a picture of his/her driver’s license/identity document. If you have insurance contact them as they are trained to help you and guide you.
- Go to the nearest police station, report the incident as clearly as possible. You will need to report this within 24 hours to the police station. Request a case number which will be sent to you in a day or two via SMS. Please note a traffic officer cannot open a docket, they only assist in clearing traffic and calling emergency services if needed.
- If you cannot drive your car away, contact a reputable towing agency or your insurance company for assistance. If you do not have insurance find out regarding the cost before the towing takes place and ensure that you read the fine print as many times these companies play on your emotions at the accident scene and charge crazy rates.