Bumper Bash or Smash? Here’s what to do if you are in a motor accident

Article written by:  Yaacov Steinhauer from www.startmycar.co.za Last week, one of my colleagues at Start My Car was involved in a minor collision on her way to work. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the damage to her vehicle was minor. The incident reminded me that road accidents can happen in an instant and are a traumatic experience which often leave the driver feeling shaken, possibly injured and unable to think clearly. For those reasons, I thought I would compile an article on what to do if you are ever involved in a road accident. That way, should you ever

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Corruption and fleet operations: Can you protect yourself?

Every year, there are literally thousands of hijackings on South African (SA) roads.  There are also as many as over a million crashes. Theft affects almost every road transporter in Africa at some time or another.  All these unpredictable, unpreventable, and uncontrollable (for the better part) losses compound to create a risk environment that causes sleepless nights, endless headaches and yes – losses.  Huge losses. But this is not another article on those risk elements.  Those topics have been covered in other articles and by other authors.  The issues of crash and crime risk – albeit a very high risk

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Hijacking recovery agents – are they involved?

When you say the word ‘risk’ many people would be forgiven to merely think ‘danger’ in the general sense.  To the common public, risk is nothing more than something you should be thinking about; but never do.  It’s a bit like contraception:  everyone knows about it, most people know when and where it should be applied but too many people are enjoying the benefits of its absence to care – that feeling of ‘freedom’ with no worries.  Oh, they’re quick to change their attitude after their little bubbles of bliss have been burst.  But they hammer on – pardon the

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When drivers become passengers

People often complain about law enforcement.  With events like the Marikana Massacre, the Oscar Pistorius trial, the Inge Lotz murder, and the Nkandla scandal fresh in our memories, it’s easy to point fingers, to complain about” the system” and to become armchair prosecutors, judges and even executioners.  But these are all actual crimes. They involve guns, victims, and “murder”, and are more entertaining to follow.   But what about loss of life in car crash cases?  How can 51 people die in a horrible bus tragedy in Zambia with no one hearing about it?  Why does Oscar shooting Reeva garner

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Roadside Barriers – are they just barriers?

In another gripping Road Ahead exclusive from renowned forensics specialist Stan Bezuidenhout, we get the inside track on the underlying defects of certain roadside barriers – which can be fatal when things go wrong On 23 August 2008, a lovely young lady – let’s call her Lisa (this is an actual case, but names are changed to protect the parties involved) – was travelling on the M3 near the University of Cape Town on a late Saturday afternoon on her way home. Lisa was alone in her little car, a white Renault Clio.  There was a Land Rover on the

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The “6 F’s”​ of Rifle Accuracy

While this is nothing near an exhaustive article, a replacement of better sources, an indictment of any technique, process, or method devised by others, or industry- or application-specific one, I felt the need to share my thoughts on some of how a rifle can be manufactured or made to be more accurate. Take note that I am not discussing how you can make yourself more accurate, choose or make ammunition more accurate, or improve your shooting skills (in this article). If you’d like me to cover those topics, please reach out. This is all about the “system” you will be using.

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Crime Scene Investigation: Polokwane Explosion

As any transporter will tell you, this industry is more suited to an expert juggling clown than to any normal, sane-thinking individual. The array of risks, challenges, requirements, vulnerabilities, and challenges is eclipsed only by the need to remain competitive, limiting costs, perfecting route selection and selecting the right tools for the job in complexity. While the average person will typically see an image of a container truck when the word ‘transport’ is used, there are as many load configurations as there are manufacturers and models of trucks, if not more. After the well-published collision and explosion occurred on the N1

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Rollover Crashes, Crash Reconstruction and Safer Driving

On the Arrive Alive website, we share crash reports received from various medical emergency response services across South Africa. During the past Festive season, we received several reports stating that there was a vehicle “rollover” or that the vehicle “overturned”. Vehicle rollovers are generally divided into two categories: tripped and untripped. Tripped rollovers are caused by forces from an external object, such as a curb or a collision with another vehicle. Untripped crashes are the result of steering input, speed, and friction with the ground. We decided to raise a few questions on rollover crashes on the roads of South

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Pedestrian collisions at night

What am I to do for the Safety of Pedestrian and Driver? If you are ever unfortunate enough to strike a pedestrian in a remote area or any area considered dangerous for whatever reason and you are alone, what are you supposed to do? Stop and risk getting attacked, robbed, and hijacked or worse? Drive away and “worry about it later?” As a Forensic Road Traffic Collision Reconstruction Specialist, Stan Bezuidenhout has investigated thousands of cases in the capacity of a private investigator, government contractor and specialist police reservist. These are the kinds of cases he has had to piece

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Lighting and Safe driving

Introduction This is a highly simplified article of a much more complex field of interest with a lot of comparative evaluation between certain lighting technologies. This should not be used as a platform for design, engineering or legal argument. It is intended and written for information purposes only. When you have been involved in a crash, you have to go to a police station to fill in an Officer’s Accident Report (AR) Form. You will notice that – in this form, you need to fill in spaces relating to day/night. Whether the collision occurred in the day or at night.

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How to choose an accident investigator

When fleet operators experience the horror of one of their assets being involved in a serious accident, involving a loss of life and/or serious spills or stock losses, they are often forced to procure the services of a contractual accident investigator under less than ideal circumstances. In the midst of a media frenzy, pressure from financial, logistical and management departments for “answers,” requests for information by police investigators, social responsibility considerations, tow-in and vehicle repair decisions, loss-of-income concerns and service replacement challenges you can hardly blame them for making less than informed decisions. Just as the field of specialized accident

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How do Seatbelts save lives?

How do Seatbelts Save Lives? The Mechanics of a Seatbelt Explained When you use the word seatbelt, people often think only of the “webbing.” The black (or another colour) strap you pull across your lap and chest. But there is more to this amazing invention than a mere belt to hold you back. So – let’s look at the components of the seatbelt first, shall we: The webbing The webbing – the thing you see most of – is not just any material. In order for it to be effective, it needs to be able to restrain you, it needs

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Airbags and Vehicle Occupant Safety

Wearing seatbelts is the Law for all vehicle occupants! Buckling up is simply the best way to protect both drivers and passengers. This is a message we will continue to emphasise in every road safety campaign across all the possible mediums available. Safety inside the vehicle is also increased through the latest in safety technology such as various airbags developed by vehicle manufacturers. It is important that we understand airbags, how they work, what their limitations are and how they assist in protecting vehicle occupants. We raised several questions with road crash investigator Stan Bezuidenhout to gain a better understanding

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Are we doing enough road safety research?

Let’s talk about research. No, not the white coats in labs with vials and bailing liquids type of research. Not medical research or the type where animals are stuck in cages with tubes coming out of their noses. We’re talking research on humans. Humans who die in accidents and stuff. Every year we hear the “figures” coming out. Whether it’s a minister of this or traffic chief of that, the Road Accident Fund, government’s Arrive Alive Campaign or the anti-drunk-driving lobbyists, figures are quoted with reckless abandon at around Christmas, New Year and Easter. We often hear figures quoted that sound very onerous, but the rhetoric

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ABC of Accident and Crash Investigation

Stanley Bezuidenhout is an internationally experienced crash investigator, crime scene analyst, court expert, author, trainer, and public speaker. He has committed more than 20 years of his extensive career to crash investigation and expert services in many countries, including the SADC Region of Africa, the Middle East, the United States of America, and Canada. As a Military Intelligence Veteran, a former Specialist Reservist in the South African Police, and as the owner of IBF Investigations – a private crash investigation and reconstruction business – Stan has extensive experience at live scenes and in courts at all levels. He remains active

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Repudiation of Car Insurance Claims and Crash Investigation

With a rather dismal road safety record and hundreds of thousands of road crashes yearly in South Africa it is rather irresponsible to drive with a vehicle that is not insured. Car Insurance, even though sometimes seen as a “Grudge purchase” may save you from lengthy legal battles with other road users. Perhaps most important though is that car insurance will provide peace of mind that you will not be left to deal with severe financial hardship in having to replace your vehicle. Well, this is part of the theory of it! All is however not that simple. The contract

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Collision Advice…

Precautionary measures Before you are involved in an accident, please be sure you have the following BEFORE you go on a trip: A reliable Pen or Pencil, and a WHITE writing pad, AT LEAST A5 in size. One yellow or white WAX crayon, for marking vehicle locations. A disposable camera with at least 36 exposures, for photographing evidence and damage. A torch with fresh batteries – preferably with more than two batteries of any size. A cheap reflective jacket in case you have to flag down traffic or assist others. As many blankets as possible (at least three) – preferably

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Who Should swerve and to where to avoid the head-on crash in the same lane?

This is not an easy question to answer. We referred this rather interesting question to well-known crash reconstructionist Stan Bezuidenhout and would like to share his response! Question: “Watching vehicles overtake in places they should not be made me think about the following: If I’m in my lane and faced a vehicle head-on – 1a. which way would I swerve? 1b. which way would the other vehicle swerve? If I’m the overtaking vehicle – 2a. Do I swerve? 2b. Do I stay in the lane and move closer to the vehicle I’m overtaking? We know this is a problem that won’t go away easily –

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Social media: Can It reduce risk?

Social Media: When you say these words, images of teenagers glued to their smartphones, staff abusing company internet services and the infidelity of spouses often spring to mind…People love to hate everything called ‘social media’. You often hear people saying things like “I don’t do Facebook” or “I don’t see the point of Twitter”. Some refer to ‘Mixit’ and claim that it is used by perverts, writes forensics expert Stan Bezuidenhout. Of course, most modern, liberal, connected and innovative companies and groups have been exploiting the various social media platforms for everything from broadcasting (think news) to publication (think book releases) and even

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Vehicle Modifications, alterations and road safety

Manufacturers deliver vehicles which cater for the average driver and have settings that will provide the best (erring on the conservative) in terms of longevity, economy, ride comfort, performance. That satisfies most drivers but some, quite possibly because they can’t find/afford a “performance” model from the manufacturer will create their own. They change and alter the vehicle dynamics not only to be visually appealing in their own eyes but also for what they deem to be improvements in performance. How does this impact on road safety and would any such modifications endanger lives on the roads? We approached a few

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Road traffic collision investigation: risk or operational expense?

When it comes to heavy commercial operations, there are almost always four forces at work: operation, human resources (also called human relations), the risk and the profit, of course. With most professional operations, a Risk Department will handle everything from safety and security at sites, offices, and depots through occupational health and safety, loss control and access control and let’s not forget “accident investigations.” While this all sounds perfectly normal, we find a very interesting trend in procurement psychology, when it comes to the risks associated with road traffic collisions. When you ask someone to list, the risks associated with road transport,

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speeding and analysis of speed in crash investigation

On the Arrive Alive website, we share many reports from road crashes across South Africa. The objective is not only to keep the public informed of road crashes but also to investigate and expose the contributing factors to road crashes. This allows us to share information and advice on preventing these crashes and make our roads safer. A very important theme is that of Speed. We emphasize that drivers/bikers should both obey the Rules of the Road and the Speed Limits and also adjust speed where the road, traffic and weather conditions necessitate a reduced speed to be safe. When

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Safe Driving with Trucks in the mountains

Introduction Recently, due to fires in the Outeniqua mountains, drivers had to take a detour from Oudtshoorn to George via the Robinson pass towards Mossel Bay. The Robinson pass is much more of a challenge for truck drivers as there are no “extra lanes” and the corners tend to be much sharper than on the Outeniqua pass. It was quickly evident that motorists became frustrated with the delays as they shared the mountain pass with much slower carriers of road freight. We believe it may be important to share some content on safety advice for truck drivers – and not

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road traffic collision investigation: risk or operational expense?

When it comes to heavy commercial operations, there are almost always four forces at work: operation, human resources (also called human relations), the risk and the profit, of course. With most professional operations, a Risk Department will handle everything from safety and security at sites, offices, and depots through occupational health and safety, loss control and access control and let’s not forget “accident investigations.” While this all sounds perfectly normal, we find a very interesting trend in procurement psychology, when it comes to the risks associated with road traffic collisions. When you ask someone to list, the risks associated with road transport,

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is your motor claim repudiation really justified?

This article is directed at a specific few who will understand its contents only too well. It was written out of frustration the knowledge that right, wrong, honesty, and dishonestly is not as clearly defined as we have always believed. It was written to educate the “victims” of unfair motor vehicle insurance claim repudiations; those the insurer repudiates because you “drive in excess of the speed limit, thus failing to take due care and reduce loss or damages”. With the experience of more than 17 years, investigating, analyzing, reconstructing, and testifying in courts at all levels, Stan Bezuidenhout from IBF Investigations

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How reliable are gPS tracker reports when it comes to speeding?

I come across this all the time: People have their insurance claims repudiated (rejected) or they face criminal charges, based on speed data acquired from so-called “Tracker Reports.” Most modern vehicles in most countries where asset recovery is a topic of interest are fitted with some or other “Tracking System.” The system is either installed by design or installed afterward. In countries like South Africa, where vehicle hijackings and theft is a major issue, most insurers might insist on the installation of a “VESA-approved tracking and recovery device” as a condition of cover. The truth is that the VESA standard

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Drone in law enforcement: investigating road accidents

Stan Bezuidenhout is a forensic specialist on road accidents and the founder of IBF Investigations, using drones for accident reconstruction and investigation.  IBF is an independent team working on expert analysis of crash scenes for law enforcement, Department of Justice and insurance companies.  And after thousands of crashes and years of experience, Bezuidenhout concludes that smaller and simpler tools are better. Bezuidenhout explains that crash investigation is never simple – his organization has a 124 point protocol of everything that needs to be done to gather all of the evidence at the scene of an accident.   A standard investigation yields

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Advice for legal professionals, on using expert witnesses

Whenever you wish to engage an Expert Witness in one of your legal matters, you might prefer one that you’ve used a lot, one with the best qualifications, or one with the longest track record. While all these are noble characteristics to consider, I would like to propose a new way of approaching this very important choice – a checklist, of sorts. The quality of evidence.    Some experts excel at general discussion and the formulation of opinions around their experience, rather than the accuracy of the information or the veracity of available evidence. Others, like myself, prefer to rely

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Crash Risk Mitigation – Where does training fit in?

During the 2016/17 festive season, we heard once again how the road traffic collision statistics climbed by more than 10% – exactly as ‘naysayers’ predicted and in contrast to the promises, threats, and promotions. According to most recent statistics and as reported in a Road Crash Cost Report by the CSIR for the RTMC in 2016, the total cost of road traffic collisions on South Africa’s road network for 2015 amounted to an estimated R142.95 billion. That’s not peanuts! It’s about 3.4% of gross domestic product! This has huge implications for taxation, infrastructure, insurance and the management cost of road safety. But this is

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Collision Investigation and Understanding Brake Failure

We often find in crash reports the phrase that “the brakes failed”. But what does this mean, and how does an Accident Investigator/ Collision Reconstructionist go about establishing whether brake failure has been one of the contributing factors to the crash? After the recent horrific crash at an intersection at Pinetown, we decided to approach well-known accident investigator Stan Bezuidenhout with questions to provide some clarity and insights on brake failure as a contributing factor to vehicle crashes. We raised the following questions: What are the most important differences between the braking system on trucks and the brakes on a

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