Car accidents are extremely unexpected and stressful events that are sure to ruin your day and can potentially be much more serious and traumatizing. As a result, it’s important to brush up on your knowledge of what to do after an accident when you’re calm and collected, as not knowing what to do after the fact can result in some serious repercussions.
How To Be Prepared:
Keep a vehicle safety kit in your car: Some things that should be in your safety kid include: roadside warning triangles, a first-aid kit, jumper cables, a tire pressure gauge, work gloves, a spare tire, antifreeze, and two quarts of oil.
Keep important information in your glove box: This includes your registration, insurance cards, and ID cards.
Be sure to know your coverage: Talk to your agent at least once a year to make sure you have the right coverage for your current circumstances and to find out if you’re eligible for any new discounts.
After The Accident:
Check for injuries: Be sure to check yourself, the other driver, and any passengers for injuries. Call the ambulance if you are hurt or have someone do it for you if you are seriously injured
Move vehicles away from traffic: If possible, move the vehicles to a safe place away from traffic. If you are hurt or moving your car is simply not an option, turn on your hazard lights and set up your roadside warning triangles to warn other drivers.
Notify the police: This is important regardless of the seriousness of the damages or injuries, having the police file a report is important in establishing liability for the accident and is required in some states. If the police decide not to send officers to the scene, file the report yourself so that you have your side of the story on record.
Notify your insurance agent: Be sure to be honest and be clear and concise. Similar to the police report, calling your insurance company as soon as possible ensures that you get your side of the story on record before the other driver files a claim.
Collect information: To help things run smoothly, you should collect the other driver’s:
- Phone number
- Driver’s license number
- Insurance provider
- Policy number
- Number of occupants in the other vehicle.
Note: As a shortcut, just take a picture of their insurance card and driver’s license.
Information about the police officers: Get the officers’ names and badge numbers.
Information about the witnesses: Receiving names and contact information from any witnesses can help insurance companies decide liability.
Record information about the accident: This includes time, location, description of the cars, and description of the people involved. Take as many photos of the vehicles involved as possible from several different angles. Write down your side of the story as well, while it’s still fresh in your memory.
Note: Never admit fault at the scene of the accident. Be honest with the police and your insurance company but avoid admitting fault, as that is for them to decide. You may feel that you were at fault but there could have been several other factors you don’t know about that can reduce your liability.
The idea of getting into a car accident is something every driver worries about and resents, but unfortunately it’s likely to happen to anyone who spends a lot of time behind the wheel. Follow the steps in this guide to ensure the process goes as swimmingly as possible.