Driving in Mzansi is not for the faint-hearted – now can you imagine a driver who is a tourist in South Africa having to adjust to our roads? It’s not always an obvious thing, but very often we are sharing our roads with tourists who experience driving very differently to us in their respective country. There are a number of accident cases daily, some of which may involve drivers that are not from South Africa and are merely here on holiday or business trips.
Question is, what happens next?
Here’s what to do in an accident situation when non-South African drivers are involved:
- Safety first: When dealing with any situation on the road, especially emergencies, always make sure that the scene is safe to step into or out of before doing so. If you are able to, attend to any injured persons and help without risking aggravating the situation. If you don’t have sufficient first aid experience, do not attempt any first aid.
- Notify emergency services if needed. Different cases will require different levels of assistance. Assess the situation to determine what type of help to call out for. It is often best to have more help than less.
- Call your insurance emergency helpline in order to utilise towing, or move vehicles that are obstructing the road. Ensure that you only use towing authorised by your insurer. When you are panicked, it’s easy to make the mistake of taking on assistance from any helping hand – when it comes to such cases, it can cost you more than it should.
- In cases where property got damaged or injuries have occurred, you need to remain on the scene until the police arrive and permit you to leave the scene.
- The type of information you need to collect differs slightly. Make sure you get the following details:
– Full names
– ID numbers / Passport numbers
– Country of origin
– International driving licence details
– Details of their location whilst visiting South Africa (hotels, family, etc)
– Addresses abroad
– Telephone details both local and abroad
– Car registration number(s)
– Descriptions of the cars (e.g. car brand, model and colour)
– Details of police and traffic officers and ambulance personnel
– Details of tow truck persons
– Photos of the scene and damages incurred
– In cases where diplomats are involved, the police attending to the scene will inform the necessary office
- Report the accident to the nearest police station within 24 hours
- Don’t make any statements admitting fault
What happens in terms of insurance?
The process of claiming from your insurer does not differ, the procedure that you follow is the same as you would with any other driver.
If the person liable for damages to an insured client is a person from another country, your insurance provider will still try and recover the damage. The tourist driver will still be governed by the same obligations as if they were a South African citizen.
In such accident cases, your insurer will follow up with the tourist driver and will do their best to get the visitor to settle the damage before leaving the country. However, should the person return to their country before the claim has been settled, your insurer has the option to decide whether it will be economically viable to litigate across borders.
Just another reason that it’s so important to have insurance! It’s not just about you – it’s about the other drivers on the road.