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What to do when involved in an accident

WHAT TO DO WHEN INVOLVED IN A CAR CRASH

Although you do your best to drive responsibly and defensively, it's still smart to know what to do just in case you end up in a collision. Crashes can be very scary, but here are some tips if one happens to you:

Take Some Deep Breaths to Get Calm. After a crash, a person may feel a wide range of emotions — shock, guilt, fear, nervousness, or anger — all of which are normal. But take a few deep breaths or count to 10 to calm down. The calmer you are, the better prepared you will be to handle the situation. This is the time to take stock of the accident and try to make a judgment about whether it was a serious one.

Keep Yourself and Others Safe. If you can't get out of your car — or it's not safe to try — keep your seat belt fastened, turn on your hazard lights, then call any of these numbers Ambulance 997, Fire 998 or Police 999. If it's safe to get out and move around your car, set up orange cones, warning triangles, or emergency flares around the crash site.

Report the Incident

Check on everyone involved in the crash to see if they have any injuries. This includes making sure you don't have any serious injuries. Be extremely cautious — not all injuries can be seen. If you or anyone involved isn't feeling 100%, you should call
•    Ambulance 997,
•    Fire 998 or
•    Police 999
or any other emergency number for assistance. Be ready to give the dispatcher the following information:
•    Who? The dispatcher will ask for your name and phone numbers in case the authorities need to get more information from you later.
•    What? Tell the dispatcher as much as you can about the emergency — for instance, whether there is a fire, traffic hazard, medical emergency, etc.
•    Where? Let the dispatcher know exactly where the emergency is taking place. Give the city, road name, direction of travel, traffic signs, and anything else you can think of to help them know how to find you.

MVA Fund has a formal arrangement with Emergency Medical Services Companies to provide assistance to any person involved in a car crash within a radius of 75km from Gaborone, Mahalapye, Francistown, Maun and Palapye. The EMS will use appropriate transportation: road or air lifting to transport the road accident victim to the nearest appropriate facility. These numbers will also be handy in case of a car crash: 
•    MedRescue Botswana 992,
•    Emergency Assist 991 or
•    Rescue One 993.   

Make sure you stay on the phone line until the dispatcher says it's OK to hang up.

Take Down Driver Information
If you are feeling up to it, ask to see the driver's license of the other drivers involved in the crash so that you can take down their license numbers. Also get their name, address, phone number, insurance company, insurance policy number, and license plate number. If the driver doesn't own the car involved, be sure to get owner's info as well.

Take Notes on the Crash
If the crash is minor and you feel that you can describe it, try to do so. Detailed notes and photos of the scene may help the court and insurance agencies decide who is responsible. Get a good description of the cars involved — year, make, model, and colour. If your phone has a camera, use that or another camera to take photos of the scene — including the cars and any damage, the roads, any traffic signs, and the direction each car was coming from.

If you feel well enough, try to draw a diagram of the exact crash site and mark where each car was, what direction the car was coming from, and what lane it was in. Also, write down the date, time, and weather conditions. If there were any witnesses, try to get their names and contact info so that they can help clear up matters if one of the other drivers isn't completely honest about what really happened. This information will help you if when giving an account on what transpired on a police statement.

Sometimes, you can get the police to report to the crash scene even if there are no injuries, especially if you tell them you need someone to mediate — in other words, to help you figure out what happened and who's at fault. But in certain areas, as long as both vehicles can be safely driven away, police officers won't come to the scene unless someone is hurt. If the police do not come to the scene, make sure you file a vehicle incident report at a police station.

 

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