Posts tagged ‘why do we report an accident’

Reporting an accident…focus on vehicle and driver identification

Nandi Drive accidentWe have discussed in 2 previous posts the basics pertaining to Reporting an accident and important aspects that the driver need to be aware of when he completes the Accident Report. View these blog posts at:

Easy Steps and Guide to Reporting an Accident [Part1]

Easy Steps and Guide to Reporting an Accident [Part2].

The vehicles involved in the Accident

In the 2nd Part of the series of posts we emphasized the need for attention to detail with regards to the location where the accident took place. This includes making a note of the road and weather condition at the time of the incident.

In this post we would like refer to the Identification of Vehicles, Vehicle Damage and the Drivers involved in the accident.

The Accident Report form requires the following information:

Information about the Vehicles

  • Number Plate number
  • License disk number
  • Colour
  • Make
  • Model
  • Trailer Number Plate number if applicable

Vehicle Type

There are several types of vehicles, and the driver can confirm whether the vehicles are passenger vehicles, goods vehicles, motorcycles or other vehicles such as tractors, bicycles etc…

Positioning of vehicle and accident type

This information will provide more clarity on how the accident happened. Aspects to be disclosed are:

  • Positioning of vehicles before the accident
  • Vehicle manoeuvre / What the driver was doing  i.e. turning, stopping, swerving, merging etc
  • Accident type i.e. sideswipe, rear end, head on etc

Identification of the driver and his vehicle

It is important that you are able to find information to identify the other driver. In most accidents this does not present a dilemma, but you might be the unfortunate accident victim confronted by an unlicensed and uninsured driver who might like you to know as little as possible. What are you to do?

Information required on the Accident Report Form include

  • Name
  • Initials
  • Age
  • Address details
  • Telephone numbers
  • Race/ Gender
  • Driving License number

Even though every driver involved in an accident is required to report the accident within 24 hours, and he will have to provide the above details when completing his separate accident report, it is advised that you do more to assist your insurance company in establishing the contact details of the other party.

How do you do this?

  • Ask politely that the other person share information about his name, initials and contact number.
  • Write down his ID number.
  • If willing he might even provide you with his driver license for clarification
  • Ask for cellular phone number / work number. You might like to call him from there to confirm that it is not a bogus number.
  • Do not believe everything you are told…there are additional measures you can take.
  • Write down the vehicle registration number.

Use your cellular phone at the accident scene to collect information

You can benefit from the advances in cellular technology at the accident scene. Most cellular phones are now equipped with excellent camera capability – and you need to do this.

Photographs at accident sceneMost important photos to take for the purpose of gathering information could be:

-          Capturing the vehicle license plate

-          The license disk of the other vehicle

-          Positioning of the vehicles at the accident scene

-          Damage to the vehicles.

Expert accident investigator Stan Bezuidenhout has provided excellent advice in a section titled The perfect 36 Photographs of any accident.

We would like to advise all vehicle owners to view this section for the benefit of themselves and the processing of their car insurance claims.


Easy Steps and Guide to Reporting an Accident [Part2].

reporting-an-accidentThe first part in this series dealt with the basics of reporting and accident. Aspects discussed focused on when such report has to be made and by whom. To refresh, view Easy Steps and Guide to Reporting an Accident [Part1]

In this section we would like to have a closer look at the Accident Report Form and the information that you might need to gather for the efficient completion of this document. You have to report the accident within 24hours – and even though this is required by law, there are also another important consideration for early reporting…There are many bits of information that you might forget if you do delay making the report!

In this section we would like to provide advice with regards to the area where the accident occurred and what you need to remember about the location and the type of the accident.

Important details to remember and collect from the accident scene include the following:


  • Note the time of the accident.
  • This is important as it might also provide an indication of the condition of “light” at the time of the incident and how visibility might have been.
  • Often in accidents with animals on roads, especially a driver driving into farm animals it becomes a dispute whether the sun has already set and whether the driver should have had his lights on at the time.

Weather and Visibility

  • Note the weather conditions at the time of the accident.
  • This would also confirm aspects such as visibility and the condition of the road surface.
  • Take note whether it was wet, misty or whether there might have been smoke from veld fire etc.


  • Where did the accident occur?
  • Try to be as precise as possible and write down the street names or crossings.
  • Did the accident occur on a specific stretch of road, between 2 roads or at an intersection?
  • If at an intersection, what type of intersection?
  • Write down possible “markers” such as shop or place names. Even though you might not be familiar with the area, the police official assisting with the report might know the area well and might be able to reconstruct the scene with you.
  • Also note specific road signs, traffic lights, traffic circles etc.
  • These signs are referred to on the Accident Report Form as Traffic Control Type information.

Direction of Traffic

  • In which way were the cars heading? What were the position of the cars just before the accident?
  • It is important to make a note of the direction of travel of the cars in the accident.
  • This will provide clarity on the “Accident Type” – i.e..whether it was a head/rear end, head on, sideswipe accident etc.
  • Write down whether the roads were single or multi-lane roads and whether there were other cars travelling at the same time.
  • Was it a freeway, one way road or which other type of road?
  • Be attentive to whether there were changes in direction of travel by any of the vehicles such as a vehicle turning in a specific direction.

Condition of the Road

  • You should make a note of the type of road that you were travelling on – gravel, tarmac, dirt etc
  • Note the condition of the road and the presence/ absence of potholes
  • Were there any road markings or construction activity such as road works?
  • Note the condition of the road markings and whether they were visible.

View an example of the Accident Report Form at the Arrive Alive website at Accident Report Form

Easy Steps and Guide to Reporting an Accident [Part1]

photoDo you know what to expect when you go to report your vehicle accident?

We know that we have to report the incident but are often unaware of the documentation to be completed and why it is so essential to make a full and complete disclosure.

Earlier this week my mom was involved in a typical “fender bender” accident in Oudtshoorn. She was in a parked position having just exited her parking bay when another elderly lady with a small bakkie drove into the back door of her car. Fortunately for her the damage is minimal and the other driver was most helpful in providing details. They even arrived simultaneously at the local Police station to report the accident.

But what if this is not the situation? What must I know about reporting an accident and which information should I gather?

We would like to discuss this topic on the Car Insurance Blog and provide advice to our vehicle owners.

Part 1    The basics of reporting an accident

In this first discussion we would like to reflect on information made available by the South African Police Services to both officers and the public.

What does the law require?

  • A driver of a vehicle which has been involved in a road accident must report the accident within 24 Hours of its occurrence to any metropolitan, municipal or city police department, traffic department in South Africa or police station of the South African Police Service(SAPS).
  • This must be done in terms of the National Road Traffic Act, Act 93 of 1996.
  • A road accident must be reported in person. It may not be reported over the telephone or by a third party.
  • A driver must present his/her driving licence when the accident is reported.

Completing the Official Accident Report

The official accident report is not a mere formality and deserves your full attention. This Report is important for insurance companies when you submit your claim as they will request this report in processing your claim.

  • The official Accident Report (AR) Form will be completed for all accidents which occur on a public road and where a vehicle was involved, i.e all roads where the public or part of the public has right of access. This could include private property.
  • The AR Form can/may be completed personally by a driver of a vehicle by a driver of a vehicle involved in an accident where no criminal case docket has been opened/registered, only if he /she is in condition to do so.
  • A police official, traffic officer or other authorized person will be prepared to help the driver complete the form.
  • An individual AR Form will be completed for each driver/pedestrian reporting an accident, irrespective of how many parties there are. This is to give everyone the opportunity to give their version of the accident.

Details in the Accident Report

  • Every effort must be made to say exactly where the accident occurred, i.e the exact location. This is critical and of the utmost importance.
  • It is essential that the information recorded on the AR Forum is an accurate reflection of the circumstances of the accident, and that the form is correctly completed.
  • Once the AR Form has been completed, an entry will be made in the official Accident Register, Occurrence Book,etc at the Reporting Police Station.
  • The driver / pedestrian will then be given an official reference number as proof that the accident has been reported…eg AR NR 13/12/2010
  • A photocopy of the completed AR Form will only be given to the driver / pedestrian if there is a request in writing, and the request is accompanied by the payment of the prescribed fee.

View an example at the Arrive Alive website at Accident Report Form

When will a road accident be criminally investigated by the SAPS?

* when a person has been killed (culpable homicide),

* when a person has been seriously injured,

* when a vehicle of the SAPS has been involved in an accident or contributed to an accident,

* when it appears that a serious offence has been committed , and/or

* when there is a written complaint that a specific criminal offence(Section)(traffic-related or not), has been committed, and that such complaint is brought to the attention of a station commissioner of a SAPS police station.

A criminal offence is committed if a road accident is not reported, not reported within 24-hours of the occurrence or a drivers licence is not produced when the accident is reported, and a criminal prosecution could follow.