When you step into a car, very few people expect to be involved in an accident. Unfortunately, car accidents are very common with over 6 million people being involved in road accidents each year.
Many people feel upset and anxious after being involved in a collision, but remaining calm and following the steps below is vital. If you can keep your cool, it can help make the situation better rather than worse, and your attitude can make sorting your insurance down the line a lot easier.
Car accidents claim a lot of lives each year. In America alone, approximately 40,000 people are killed on the road each year. Throughout the world it is estimated that 3,700 people die each day because of car or other road accidents. Saturday tends to be the deadliest day of the week for car accidents in America.
So, if you are involved in a car accident, take a deep breath and try and resolve the situation as calmly as possible. Follow these 3 steps:
Step 1: Investigate the Scene for Dangers and Injuries
Safety is the most important thing after a car accident. Check yourself, and any other passengers in your vehicle to assess if anyone or yourself suffered injuries or are is danger. Is your vehicle still in a dangerous area, like at risk to oncoming traffic? Can anyone in the vehicle smell smoke or gasoline? Check all your surroundings to make sure everything is safe.
If everybody involved in the vehicle hasn’t suffered major injuries and can move, move off the road to a safe area. If you remain on the road it could cause more accidents with other vehicles. If somebody is injured and can’t move off the road, turn off the ignition in the car and switch on the vehicle’s hazard lights. If the accident is at nighttime make sure that your full lights are not on in the car as it could cause problems to oncoming vehicles.
If a person is injured, immediately call emergency services for help. Don’t try and move the person from the accident as this could cause further problems. Just wait until the emergency services arrive on the scene.
Step 2: Make contact with the Police Immediately
Calling the police is vital after an accident. Even if it is a small accident and nobody involved seems injured, making contact with local police or the highway patrol is still important. In certain states in America, you are required by law to make contact with law enforcement to report an accident. Expect the officer to request your registration, license, insurance documents, and possibly other information. Ask the officer for his or her name, badge number, and contact details in case you need to follow up at a later stage, even if the accident is minor. They will provide you with a copy of their police report which you can give to your insurance company.
If there is another vehicle or vehicles involved in the accident, both parties need to exchange information. This information includes:
- Drivers full name (this will be displayed on their driving license)
- Home address
- Phone number (work and home number if available)
- Email address
- Drivers license: If they have a copy of their license ask to take one, however, if you have a smartphone you can take a picture of their license
- Name of the insurance company
- Policy number: They might have a copy of their insurance policy on their phone, so perhaps asking them to forward it to you might help
- License plate number
Find out if the driver of the car owns the vehicle. If it is owned by someone else, ask for the car owner’s name and contact details, and ask what the relationship between the driver and the owner of the car is. Take note of the model of the car, the brand of the car, and the color. If anybody has witnessed the accident, make sure you get their full name and other contact details.
If the other driver asks you to sign anything, decline unless your auto accident attorney, insurance agent, or police officer asks you to.
Try and remain calm when speaking with other drivers or passengers involved in the accident. Neither you nor the other driver will be the judge of who is to blame for the accident. Try and keep the conversation with the third party constructive. Exchange all your details with one another and let the attorneys and insurance agents figure out the rest.
Step 3: Take Photographs of the Vehicle
Take lots of photographs of the accident to document the collision. Try and get every angel of the vehicles involved in the pictures. Take pictures of the road where the accident took place. If there is any damage caused by the accident, such as road signs, trees, lights, make sure to keep a record of this also.
Write down all the details that you can remember when the accident occurred as soon as possible so the memories are still fresh in your head. The following details might prove important:
- What the weather condition is like
- The condition of the road
- The exact location of the accident. You can also save the location on your smartphone
- What the other vehicles were doing when the accident occurred
If you don’t have something to write down these details you can input it into your phone. Most smartphones have a dictaphone so that you can record your details. Your insurance company might request these details at a later date so keeping records might prove critical.
Contact your insurance company after the incident.
A car accident can prove to be your worst nightmare. Following these straightforward steps it will help you get all the information to avoid issues with insurance companies and drivers of the other vehicles down the line. Remaining calm and not letting your emotions get the better of you is very important, even if the driver of the other vehicle is not relaxed. If you are in rage, sorting out the insurance and police report will prove to be a lot more difficult.