If you are ever involved in a road or traffic accident when driving in Switzerland, it is important to know what to do, how to react and who to call.
What safety equipment do I need in my car?
To be prepared to respond to any road accident you may be involved in, the Swiss government requires that you have a fluorescent warning triangle in your car, should you have an accident or break down. Although not mandatory, it is also recommended to carry a First Aid kit, a fire extinguisher and a yellow fluorescent vest.
Some car manufacturers include these items as standard, particularly if you have imported your vehicle, especially from places like France or Germany that have similar road rules. If you do choose to take a First Aid kit, be sure to check the use-by-date of any medication and do not attempt treatment better performed by a doctor.
What to do in case of an accident on the road in Switzerland
Anyone involved in a traffic accident in Switzerland is legally required to stop immediately and secure the site of the accident if able. Anyone who does not stop after involvement in an accident where people have been injured is liable to be prosecuted.
Following an accident, drivers should stop, put on their hazard warning lights and assess the situation. A warning triangle should be set up at least 50 metres from the site of the accident, or at least 100 metres away on motorways, to warn oncoming traffic of the situation.
Following this, any injured people should be moved clear of the accident site - if this can be done safely - and first aid should be administered if needed. Following this, the emergency services should be called, with everyone involved waiting at the site of the accident, if it is safe to do so.
Numbers to call in case of road accident
In the event of an accident, call 117 to reach the police. You should try to give the police as many details as possible about the incident, including your precise location, number of vehicles involved in the incident, the type of vehicles and the number of people involved (including any injured).
Other emergency numbers you can call are the ambulance service on 144 and the fire brigade on 118, should they be required.
Reporting a road-traffic accident in Switzerland
After an accident, you should immediately report any damage to whoever provides your car insurance and your employer if you are at work. In certain situations, your employer will insure you through accident and occupational diseases insurance.
For physical injury to passengers, children, pensioners and unemployed persons are covered by their health insurance. Anyone receiving unemployment benefits is automatically covered by SUVA, the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund.
How do I call Swiss roadside assistance?
Should your car break down or be involved in an accident, you may need to call roadside assistance. This service is often included with your regular car insurance, but policies can be purchased separately.
To call roadside assistance, phone the number that is listed in your insurance policy, or call the emergency breakdown service, which can be reached on 140. You can call for assistance from a mobile phone, and if you require urgent assistance, you may use the emergency phone booths which are arranged at regular intervals on Swiss motorways.
Car accident in a tunnel in Switzerland
If you have an accident in a tunnel in Switzerland, it is important you follow the safety instructions given. If you have broken down, attempt to stop at a lay-by in the tunnel, if available. If you have an accident, make your way to the nearest evacuation exit. These exits are marked by green signs at waist level on the side of the tunnel, which will tell you which direction you should take to find the nearest exit.