What to Do After a Car Accident
Car accidents are far more common than you may think. In the UK, someone is killed or seriously injured every 22 minutes.
No one wants to be in a car crash. No one can anticipate when an accident will happen. Yet, everyone must know what to do when it happens.
There are several legalities expected of someone involved in a crash. Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do after a car accident.
After an accident, you must stop. To do otherwise would be a criminal offence.
Due to the Road Traffic Act, it is an offence for a driver to fail to stop after an accident. No matter if it was a minor or major incident, all drivers involved must stop.
Bring your car to a stop, turn on the hazards, and turn off your engine after a collision.
Check for Injuries
With your engine switched off, take a breath. Steady your breathing and access the situation.
Check yourself over – do you have any injuries? What about your passengers?
If there are any serious injuries, call an ambulance immediately.
Make sure your car engine is off and the hazard lights are on. Exit the car and move to a safe area.
Don’t converse with the other driver in the middle of the road. Make your way to the side of the road away from traffic.
If the accident is blocking the road for others, phone the police. They will be able to set up a diversion.
Emotions are understandably high after an accident. However, it’s important to stay calm.
Don’t enter the situation pointing fingers. There’s no need to make an accident worse by getting into an altercation.
Also, don’t say sorry. It may seem like the natural British response, however it could end up harming you rather than helping diffuse a situation. Your well-meaning apology could be used against you in a claim, so it’s better to avoid any admissions of guilt.
It is also a criminal offence not to exchange details after an accident. Make sure both parties swap details including:
- Contact details
- Insurance details
Document the Scene
The details of the other driver isn’t the only details you should take. Facts about the accident should also be noted.
If you have your phone handy, snap a few pictures of the scene. Capture the positions of the cars and any damage.
Useful details to note include:
- The make, model, colour and registration of the other car
- The date and time of the incident
- The location of the crash
- The weather
Contact the Police, Breakdown Coverage & Insurance
You will also need to contact the police to report the incident. This should be done within 24 hours after the accident.
If your car is badly damaged and unsafe to drive, you’ll have to contact your breakdown cover for transport. To ensure you’re not stranded after an accident, see if your insurance company can provide a courtesy car.
You should always contact your insurance company after an accident. Even if you do not wish to make a claim, it’s good practice to keep you safe. The other driver involved could make a claim against you – so it’s better to be prepared.
While no one wants to be in a car accident, it’s good to be prepared if you’re unfortunate enough to be in that situation. Remember what is expected of you legally so not to make the situation worse.
Always stop after an accident and share details with the other driver involved. Take a note of the scene, area, and weather/road conditions. Lastly, always tell your insurance company and they can deal with everything from there.
Yet, most importantly, stay safe and alert when driving!
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