What to do if you get in a car accident

Keeping safe on the roads is paramount for many road users. However, sometimes the unexpected happens and we get into difficult situations. In a worst case scenario, we may find that we have an accident on the road, either by ourselves or involving other road users.

If you find yourself in a situation like this, we want you to be prepared and know what next steps to take to make sure you keep everybody involved safe. Our article will aim to give you useful advice on what to do should you get in a car accident.

This article is targeted towards people who haven’t had a serious injury in a car accident. If you sustain serious injuries in a car accident, you should follow the relevant medical advice and call 999 to get emergency help.

If you do get into a car accident in which you are not physically injured, you may still be in shock from the event. However, it is important to act and get you and any passengers to a safe place. Follow this checklist if you do get into a car accident:

1.      If you haven’t already, stop your car and turn the engine off.

2.      Switch on your hazard warning lights to make other road users aware of your stationary position.

3.      Check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If there are any injuries that require medical assistance or you are stuck in the vehicle, then you should contact the emergency services and ask for an ambulance or assistance to get out of your car immediately.

4.      If everyone is okay and you do not need to contact the emergency services, get everyone out of the vehicle and to the side of the road where it is safer to stand.

5.      Once you are away from the vehicle it will be easier to check to see what the damage is on your vehicle and any other vehicles involved in the accident.

6.      Unless you are blocking the road or it is easy to do so, do not move your cars. Wait for the authorities to help with this and direct you on what to do next.

7.      For insurance purposes, get pictures of the damage to the following; your vehicle, any other vehicles involved in the accident, any injuries to yourself or others.

8.      Contact the police department to alert them of the accident. It is especially important to do this if the road has been blocked or obstructed, as they will need to send road traffic wardens to help with the flow of traffic.

9.      Speak to any other members of the public that were directly involved in the accident. It is very important to get the following details from them for any future insurance claims;

-        Full name

-        Address

-        Phone number

-        The company their car is insured with

-        Their insurance policy number

-        Their car’s vehicle identification number

-        A description of their car

-        Full license plate details

-        It can help to make notes about the incident while it is fresh in your mind (details about the time of day, place, the driver and anything unusual)

Exchanging insurance information with the other driver is important, especially if you are looking to make a claim or they want to make a claim with their provider. Once you’ve told your insurance company what has happened, they will take over and let you know what the next steps are.

It is important to note that if you are involved in a car accident, it is your legal responsibility to share your information with the other driver, as well as theirs to share their information with you. It is illegal to withhold information if a person, animal or personal property is killed, injured or damaged in a car accident.  

As stated earlier, you should contact the authorities regardless of the type of accident you have on the road. Consider calling 101 if it isn’t an emergency, and always dial 999 in the case of an emergency. Here are some of the key reasons you would contact the police after a car accident:

-        If there has been a major incident

-        If the collision has caused a block in the road

-        If any other people who were involved in the collision refuse to give you their contact/insurance details

-        If the other driver is driving without insurance

-        If any other car involved drives away without stopping to swap contact/insurance details

-        If you believe the other driver/drivers involved caused the incident on purpose/to claim on insurance fraudulently

Sometimes, accidents aren’t avoidable if other people are driving dangerously. However, you can take certain measures to make sure that you are being safe on the road, which will ultimately decrease the chances of you getting into a crash.

1.      Always follow the recommended speed limits

2.      Keep your distance from the car in front of you

3.      Remove any potential distractions from view. E.g. your phone out of sight or turn down loud music

4.      Get your car serviced regularly to keep it in the best possible condition

One of the key ways to deter criminals or to catch them in the act is to install a dash cam in your car. This will record your car whilst it is in motion and if another driver causes a collision to claim on insurance fraud, it is less likely they’ll succeed if you have a dash cam. Furthermore, dash cams often deter criminals from targeting you and your vehicle. Find out more about the benefits of a dash cam here.

Being a safe and sensible road-user will usually help you avoid accidents on the roads. However, sometimes these incidents can’t be helped and it is either someone else’s fault or no ones fault at all. If you are interested in learning more about how to keep safe on the roads check out our Automotive News and Advice Hub to read our informative advice articles.