No driver ever wants to get into a car crash. You may think you’re being careful and that you’re an expert behind the wheel, but the average driver is likely to be involved with three collisions in their lifetime. Although most accidents are minor, more than 16,000 drivers are still killed in motor accidents each year. It always pays to be prepared.
If you drive a lot, it’s more likely than not that you will be involved in a minor collision at some point in your life. And it’s crucial you know what to do in just such a scenario. If you’ve bumped into another car, you can’t just drive off and hope they’re OK. You will need to follow the law to the letter, whether it was your fault or not.
The best thing you can do is to always drive safely and stick to the speed limit. This will reduce your chances of getting into trouble. But if the worst happens, here are the crucial steps you’ll need to follow.
Your first priority is your own safety. Don’t just rush out of your car to check on the other driver, as you might be making the situation a lot worse. Make sure you are in a safe location and check yourself for injuries. Sometimes an injured driver may be in shock and not realize the extent of the damage until later. If you’re convinced you are fine, make sure you are in a safe position before you do anything. If you’re in the middle of the road, you may need to move your car to the verge or another safe place if possible to do so. If you are unable to move your car, get yourself to safety as soon as possible.
If you have passengers with you in the car, make sure they are OK too. If you, or anyone else, are injured, it may be safer to stay put. In this scenario, call 911 right away.
Call the emergency services
As soon as you are safe, you should call 911. Those involved in the crash may need medical attention, and the police should be notified too. Regardless of whether it’s a minor bump or a major collision, it’s essential you get the police involved. Depending on where you live, it may even be a legal requirement. When the police arrive they will fill out an accident report and document the scene of the crash. If for some reason the police don’t arrive or you are unable to call them, make sure you visit a police station as soon as possible to report the incident.
Wait for help
If you’re stuck by the side of the road you will need to sit tight and wait for help to arrive. Make sure you are well away from the road and refrain from going back to your car unless absolutely necessary. Stick your hazard lights on and use your emergency light to warn approaching drivers of the situation.
All drivers involved in the collision should exchange information. This will help you when making a claim with your insurer. Make sure you obtain all the important details such as full name, contact information, insurance details, driver’s license, and plate. Refrain from discussing who is at fault, as this may come back to haunt you when you make your claim.
Document the scene
The more information you can take down, the better equipped you will be to make a claim. Take pictures of the scene, take down the other drivers’ details, and talk to witnesses as well. Write this all down on your phone or with pen and paper if you have them.
Notify your insurer
As soon as you get home, you should notify your insurer to tell them what happened. They will tell you exactly what information they need to process your claim and the next steps you’ll need to take. If they determine that the accident was not your fault, you should receive suitable compensation. If you have been injured in the crash by another driver, you may wish to consult with a car accident injury lawyer.
Repair your car
You will most likely need to take your car to a mechanic for repairs. Your insurance policy should cover this, but they may specify certain mechanics or firms you should use. As soon as your vehicle is up and running again, try to be careful next time you go out on the road.