Being involved in an accident is one of scariest moments ever when you’re behind the wheel. Not to mention if you are a young and/or new driver, it’s the worst! There’s no getting around that. Hopefully you will never have to worry about it, but if you do find yourself in an accident, knowing what to do (and not do) is important for making sure that it’s as streamlined as possible.
Turn on your hazard lights and then move your vehicle if you can
Directly after an accident, turn on your hazard lights so that other drivers are aware of a, well, hazard. This will help them drive on past safely and prevent a further accident. If you are able to, carefully move your car to the side of the road and then turn it off, leaving your flashers going.
Check on yourself and others for injuries
Before moving out of your car, check yourself for injuries and make sure that you won’t make them worse by getting out of the car. You should also check on the people from the other car, too, to see if they are injured. If safe, be sure to take pictures of the auto accident scene before you move it. Obviously, if it’s in the middle of the road, this won’t be safe or ideal.
Call in emergency services and your insurance agent
Call 911 or your local emergency services. This will include police, fire (in most cases) and an ambulance. Also, put a call in to your insurance agent as well so they are aware as the other driver is likely doing the same thing. The sooner that they know about your accident, the better. If your insurance has towing coverage and the car isn’t drive-able, this might be the next call along with a loved one for support.
Gather all information
While it may be intimidating, gather as much information as possible from the people in the other car. For example, their names (of all people in the car) and contact information. Record the make and model for all cars as well. If possible, try to get contact information from any eye witnesses as well. Snap a few photos the accident scene so that you have visual proof of the damage that occurred, as well as the people present, the driver near their car, their passengers and the surrounding damage, roadways and etc. This is usually helpful with remembering the details a little later as well. Take as many notes as possible as soon as possible. Never admit fault.. just state the facts.
Remember that it may be a no-fault accident
It’s normal for emotions to rise during an accident. Maybe you’re terrified because you think it’s possible that the accident may be your fault. Perhaps you’re upset because one of your passengers got hurt, or your car is very damaged. Maybe the people in the other car are angry and scaring you in their own emotional states.
With all of this swirling around, it’s important to not blame or take the blame. The officers on scene or the insurance company will determine this with the facts and the situation. It is your job to remain as calm as you can and take notes of everything you remember from start to finish. Stay neutral and remember that there are such things as no-fault accidents as well. It’s best to let the professionals do their jobs.
Getting into a car accident may be scary, but being prepared will help you keep calm and focus on streamlining the process as much as possible. The calmer you are, the more you will remember and the better you will be at your job – taking pictures, writing the details and getting everyone what they need to know and do so you can go home and process. The faster you can move on from the accident (literally and figuratively), the better. These tips should help make the difference in staying in control of your emotions when the worst happens.
Again, be sure to contact your insurance agent. This is why having a relationship with your insurance agent is ideal as they already know you and can get to working for you that much faster. Further, they know your policy and hopefully have reviewed your policy with you at each renewal or annually already so you are adequately covered for your situation. Nothing like calling the 1-800# and getting passed from one person to another or having to deal with the automation system when you are already frustrated and frazzled.