What to do if you're involved in a bumper bashing

No matter how minor a bumper bashing incident may seem, there are important details to take note of…

You’re strolling along in traffic, merrily going about your daily commute and all of a sudden you’re confronted by a ‘thud’, along with the all consuming realisation that someone has just bumper bashed you form behind. Sigh. Bumper bashing is a common occurrence on South Africa’s roads, particularly in rainy seasons and the Automobile Association (AA) notes the importance of knowing what to do when such an incident takes place.

Although considered minor incidents, if you are involved in a bumper bashing you need to stop your car, put the hazard lights on, and ensure that nobody is injured. If anyone has been injured, contact the relevant medical rescue teams immediately. It’s also critical that you don’t move the injured party,” says the AA. 

“If there are no medical injuries and the damage to the vehicle is minor, move the vehicles to the side of the road to prevent disrupting traffic. If a vehicle cannot be moved, then a towing service needs to be called to tow the vehicle. Ensure a proper assessment of your vehicle is done, and, if you can, take pictures of the damage to all the vehicles involved in the incident.”

Also read: How to behave at the scene of an accident

There are several details that you’ll need to take down in the event of a bumper bashing: road names, landmarks, intersections and robots. The AA also notes the you will have to draw a sketch and description of the accident on your police report, and for insurance purposes.

CHECKLIST: Information you need from the other party when in an accident

  • Full names (first- and middle names, initials and surnames)
  • ID number
  • Car registration number
  • Address
  • Cellphone number and other telephone contact details (work and home)
  • Insurance company details (Insurer, policy number)
  • Make, model and colour of the other vehicle
  • Date and time of the crash
  • Details of any eyewitnesses

The legalities:

  • You need to report the incident at the nearest police station in the vicinity of the crash scene within 24 hours.
  • You need to get an Accident Report (AR) number, as this is needed for any insurance claim or third party claim you may lodge.

It is important to note that your insurance policy may have a stipulated time frame in which you must report an incident. Even if you are not claiming from your insurer, it is advisable to inform them of the incident. Should your claim against the third party insurer fail you will still have recourse with your insurer.