A car accident can be one of the worst experiences to have to endure, and if you’re in Jamaica, things might get a bit more complicated. Here are a few things you should never do if you get into a car accident on the island.
- Don’t stop in certain areas. Stopping after a car accident might be the ‘right’ thing to do but this is not something you can do everywhere. This goes especially for rural areas, where residents are usually wary of ‘strange’ people in their area, and stopping may bring you face to face with an angry mob. When in doubt, drive to the nearest police station.
- Don’t show fear. The moment you start to look vulnerable, a loud mouth Jamaican will latch onto that and before you know it, you’re agreeing to all manner of things without thinking it through.
- Don’t admit to anything. Avoid the self-appointed arbitrators who will inevitably appear at the scene. Measure your words carefully, and speak only to the other person involved in the accident. Or wait until the police get there.
- Don’t offer money to the other driver. This is one hole you don’t want to get into. Bribery is almost an admission of guilt, and will ruin your case with the insurance company if you decide to make a claim.
- Don’t ask police left or right. One, it’s wrong. Two, you’re contributing to the scourge of licky licky police in the force. Plus you might just be unlucky enough to meet the one policeman who is as saintly as Jesus himself. Now you’re off to jail when you could have gone home to your dinner.
- Don’t act like a badman. On an accident scene, nobody cares if your father is a police man or you’re the brother of an area leader. This is not the place to act like you have more clout than everyone else.
- Don’t try to trick the insurance company. You’ve obviously seen too many movies. Insurance companies in Jamaica don’t pay up as quickly or easily. When you try to trick them, you’re just slowing down an already bureaucratic process.
- Don’t talk about how expensive your car is. What you’re doing is planting the idea that other expensive things might be in that car and arousing the curiosity of onlookers. Nefarious people will take advantage of your vulnerable state and swipe valuables from right under your nose without you noticing.
- Don’t accept help from everyone. When you get into an accident, swarms of people will stop to help you, but be careful. Some of them are helping themselves to spoils from the accident. Secure your valuables and keep a watchful eye out for individuals getting too close for comfort.
- Don’t tell anyone your papers not straight! If this get out of your mouth you really ‘chat too much’ as Jamaicans say. If your documents are not straight then your vehicle is not roadworthy and therefore you’re wrong even if you are right. Best to try to settle the matter before the police arrive, and just tell them you’ve both agreed to handle it.
About The Writer:
Denise Clarke is a freelance journalist based in Kingston, Jamaica. She has written for print and online newspapers in Jamaica, Barbados, and the British Virgin Islands.