What to do after an accident

SHARE   |   Monday, 09 May 2016   |   By Maatla Otsogile

Society of Road Safety Ambassadors (SORSA) is a unique, national non-profit making and non-governmental youth-led organization that acts to keep young people safe on Botswana’s roads. It comprises of active youths who are cognizant of the profound responsibility to reduce road crashes and who appreciates the moral and patriotic mission to educate the society on road safety issues, especially in this era where Botswana is among the countries hardest hit by road crashes. At SORSA we believe that everyone should have a general idea of what to do if involved in an accident — either as a driver, a passenger or as a witness. Action taken or not taken immediately following an accident may have serious consequences, and failure to comply with certain legal requirements may constitute a crime, subjecting the violator to possible fines and imprisonment. No one can predict when an accident might occur hence it’s important to act quickly to ensure that everyone involved is safe and that all legal steps are followed so it's important to plan ahead. Forewarned is forearmed.

1. Take a moment to calm down. You will likely be angry, scared, shocked, nervous, guilty, or a combination of all of these emotions in the aftermath of an accident. The calmer you are, the better you will be able to deal with the situation
2. Stop immediately. At the scene of the accident, stop as soon as you can without endangering others or obstructing traffic.
3. Warn passing traffic; turn on your hazard lights. If possible, have someone stationed to warn approaching vehicles. Place orange cones, warning triangles  or other
4. Remain at the scene of the accident. Unless injuries force you to do otherwise, do not leave the scene of the accident.
5.  Request for assistance; Assist the injured if you are able and protect them from oncoming traffic. Do not move the injured unless necessary; avoid adding to the injuries. Keep the injured person warm and stay with him or her until help arrives. The following  numbers can be called: Ambulance 997; Fire 998; Police 999; MRi Botswana 992; Emergency Assist 991 or Boitekanelo Emergency Medical Services (BEMS) 996
MVA Fund has a formal arrangement with Emergency Medical Services Companies to provide assistance for free to any person involved in a car crash within a radius of 75km from Gaborone, Mahalapye, Francistown, Maun and Palapye.
6. Get information;
• Request 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.
• Get a good description of the cars involved — year, make, model, and color. 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 possible, 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. Attempt to obtain a short summary of what each person saw. If possible, take notes. This information will help you if when giving an account on what transpired on a police statement.
7. Provide information; Be ready to give the Police and or emergency responders the following information:
•    Who? They will ask for your name and phone numbers in case the authorities need to get more information from you later.
•    What? Tell them as much as you can about the emergency — for instance, whether there is a fire, traffic hazard, medical emergency, etc.
• Where? Let them know exactly where the accident is taking place. Give the place, road name, direction of travel, traffic signs, and anything else you can think of to help them know how to find you.
8. Duty to report
• Do not leave the scene of the accident until you have done everything required. Otherwise, you may be charged with a crime called   "hit and run which contravenes section 82 Of the Traffic Act. According to Sub Section 4,” After reporting the accident at a police station or to a police officer in accordance with this section, the driver of the vehicle shall remain at the scene of the accident or return to the scene of the accident and wait until he has been authorized by a police officer to depart or unless he has to assist the injured or receive attention himself.” Conviction can mean a fine not exceeding P1 200 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to both.
And did you know that the Motor vehicle accident fund does exist to assist and compensates any person who is injured or dependents of those killed in a road crash.  All one need to do is to collect the forms, fill them out and submit them to any MVA Fund office. The Claim Form should be accompanied by the Police Reports, Sketch Plan, Police Statement and the Medical Form. Enquire about the requirements of submitting  can be done through walk–in, a call through MVA Fund toll free number 0800 600 739, visit their website at www.mvafund.bw or email them on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. It is advisable to submit a claim while the injuries are still fresh. Let us remain committed to doing all that we can to prevent the pointless tragedies on our roads. One death on the roads is one too many.
Maatla Otsogile
Society of road safety ambassadors