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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Remember, you can only do these things if you think the collision was minor (for instance, if the airbag did not inflate).
Enquire about the requirements of submitting a claim. Enquiries can be done through walk–in, a call through our toll free number 0800 600 739, visit our website at www.mvafund.bw or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. It is advisable to submit a claim while the injuries are still fresh. This will help relieve you the burden of paying for medical expenses. Collect the forms, fill them out and submit a claim to MVA Fund. The Claim Form should be accompanied by the Police Reports, Sketch Plan, Police Statement and the Medical Form.
Plenty of people have minor incidents — like running over a signboard or gate while backing out of the driveway. Somewhere between hitting sign post and hitting other cars are common problems like blowouts and breakdowns.
Getting a flat tire while you're driving can be jarring-literally. There are some things you can do to prevent this-make sure your tires aren't too old and check the tire pressure at the gas station at least once a month. If you do find yourself in a blowout situation, though, here are a few suggestions to get you through it unharmed:
- Safely bring your car out of traffic and stop. Once you realize you have tyre trouble, firmly hold the steering wheel. Don't slam on the brakes-instead, gently take your foot off the accelerator pedal and let the car slow down. Steer your car toward the breakdown lane or a parking lot (if you are on a smaller road). It's important to get out of the way of traffic, even if you have to drive (very cautiously) on the flat tyre to do it. When your car is in a safe place, brake gently until you come to a complete stop.
- Set up your breakdown site. Once safely off the road and out of the line of traffic, turn on your emergency flashers/hazards. Take out your warning signs (cones, triangles, or flares) and place them behind your car so that others realize that your car is disabled. If you know how to change your tyre and can do it safely without getting too close to traffic, do it.
- Get help if you need it. Raise the hood of your car and hang a white T-shirt or rag out the window or off the radio antenna so that police officers and tow truck operators will know you need help. Don't try to flag down other vehicles. Use a cell phone or a pay phone to call for assistance.
- Don't walk in or get near traffic. Does this really need further explaining?
- After it's done. Take your car to the shop so a mechanic can make sure there's no long-term damage to your car.
If your car breaks down, safely bring the car to a stop and out of the line of traffic. Set up your breakdown site out of traffic. A major difference between flat tires and breakdowns is that it's less likely that you will be able to fix a car that has broken down. That's why it's wise to signal that you need help by properly displaying the white cloth and calling for roadside assistance or the police.
If you manage to get your car safely out of traffic, wait inside with the doors locked. If someone stops and offers to help you, just open the window slightly and say that you've already called for help. Again, only walk along walk way facing oncoming traffic if you can get help nearby, and stay as far away from traffic as possible.