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How to stay safe when involved in a vehicle collision during COVID-19

As the amount of traffic on the road increases due to lockdown restrictions being lifted, the chances of being involved in a collision can be higher as was the case before lockdown. Even though a road collision can be traumatic and challenging during normal times, the COVID-19 pandemic can add more stress to the situation.

We need to look at additional precautions in case a collision occurs.

Here are a few steps to deal with any motor vehicle collision during COVID-19:

    • If you are involved in a car collision, and injury or death resulted from it, the law determines that you stop your vehicle immediately.
    • At all times, try not to leave the collision site until the situation has been resolved unless unsafe for you or the other affected parties.
    • Try to maintain your social distance (at least 1.5m) as far as possible when you approach the driver(s) of the other vehicle(s). Don’t forget your mask, and where possible use hand sanitiser before and after exiting your vehicle.
    • Determine if anyone was injured or deceased. If there are injured people on the scene, call for help. Take extra care when you assist injured people.
    • Wear your cloth mask when conversing or interacting with the other involved parties, and encourage them to wear their masks too.
    • Avoid the risk of secondary collisions by moving vehicles off the road (especially if it was a bumper bashing) and use your hazard lights to warn other vehicles that danger is ahead. Do not move the vehicles if there is a serious injury or death.
    • If more than one vehicle was involved in the collision, choose to exchange contact information verbally with the other driver, witnesses and other involved parties. Verify that the numbers are correct before you leave the scene of the collision.
    • Take as many pictures as possible of the incident and the other driver’s information. When you take photos of the documents, ensure that the details are clear and readable. Take pictures of the damage to all the vehicles involved in the collision, the road conditions and any other relevant information.

Try to get the following information from all the parties involved in the collision as well as witnesses on the scene:

    • Full names and ID numbers,
    • Addresses and contact details,
    • Vehicle registration numbers and licence discs,
    • Descriptions of the vehicles,
    • Details of the emergency personnel (police, traffic and ambulance personnel) on the scene, if possible,
    • Details of tow truck company and staff on the scene,
    • Insurance details.

The above information may assist you if you want to claim from the road accident fund or if you are going to claim for the costs of repair from the other party involved in the collision. You will also need this information to complete an Accident Report Form at the police station.

Remember to report the incident to the closest police station, and obtain a reference number for this.

Do not approach the other driver if his/her behaviour makes you feel unsafe. Instead remain in your vehicle if possible, call for help and wait for them to arrive for further assistance.

What to do when you or some of the other parties involved in the accident sustained injuries?

    • The mechanism of injury and severity of damage to vehicles will often help emergency services to make recommendations on whether you should proceed to a hospital. Follow their guidance.
    • If you have suffered a serious injury, you need to seek immediate medical attention. People are afraid to go to the hospital in fear of being infected with COVID-19. We want to assure you that all medical facilities are well versed in infection control principles to ensure your safety should you need to be reviewed in an emergency centre.
    • If you have suffered minor injuries as a result of a collision, being in the care of loved ones may suffice.
    • Try to maintain your social distancing after a collision occurs.
    • Please keep your mask on to protect yourself in case you come in contact with strangers.

Emergency Numbers

Police – 10111

ER24 Ambulance – 084 124

Fire / Ambulance – 112 or 10177