How to handle a car accident in South Korea

How to handle a car accident in South Korea

by Chihon Kim
Stripes Korea

A car accident can happen anytime, anywhere  and it happens to even the most careful of drivers. After a collision, you may be scared or confused, so this tip can help you to ensure your safety and protect your rights.

So, you’re in a fender bender, what now? Turn on your hazards, just like you would in the States. If possible, move your car over to the shoulder. Traffic experts also recommend opening the trunk once in a safe place as another way to warn drivers behind you. And, don’t forget to bring out those emergency triangles – those are mandatory!

Up until about three years ago, there were strict laws about the distance from the accident and where to place the triangles. To avoid secondary accidents, the rules were changed in 2017 allowing for drivers to place the triangles at the distance where they will not compromise their safety. You can also use emergency flares to warn other drivers to steer clear of the accident.

After you have taken all these necessary steps, vacate the vehicle and stand behind the guardrail. Then call the police by dialing 112 or emergency service at 119. You also need to call the military police so they can conduct their own investigation as well assist you as needed.

Don’t forget to notify your insurance provider and do not speak to the other driver’s insurance company until you have spoken to your own.

Secondary highway accidents occur often, so do not stand in the emergency lane or shoulder taking photographs or picking up debris. Secondary accidents are extremely dangerous and result in a fatality rate of over 50 percent.

Almost always, the first to respond to a vehicular accident are private tow truck drivers that frequent accident-prone areas. These drivers are aggressive and will try to persuade you to use their service. They are known for charging exorbitant prices and taking advantage of bewildered drivers. If you can, take a breath, avoid these tow truck drivers and wait for your insurance company’s free tow truck service.

When your car is towed by private tow truck, make sure to ask for the price ahead or you could pay through your nose.  In case of your insurance doesn’t cover towing service, you can use free towing service operated by the Korea Expressway Corporation. This is only in Korean so if you have a friend to dial have them call 1588-2504. This service will tow your car to a safe area like an express rest area or closest highway exit.

Towing service cost of private tow truck: standard vehicle under 2.5 tons. Less than 10 km (6.21 miles) is 51,600 won (or $43.42), 20 km for 68,300 won, 30 km is 85,100 won, 40 km for 101,900 won, 50 km is 118,700 won.

DSN 911 (MP/Fire/Ambulance)

05033 + DSN last six digits (ex. 05033-24-4258)

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