Prepare for the Worst: What to Do After a Car Accident
Are you new to driving and want to make sure you’re prepared in case anything goes wrong? Click here to learn what to do after a car accident.
Being able to legally drive a car for the first time is a liberating feeling. After all, having high-speed access to the road allows you to go essentially anywhere in just a short amount of time.
However, having driving privileges isn’t all sunshine and roses. Because you’re driving amongst other drivers, you are perpetually prone to accidents. And for most drivers, getting into a car accident isn’t a question of “if”, it’s a question of “when”.
For this reason, you must be prepared. You must understand what to do after a car accident occurs.
Need help? Then read on. We’re going to explain every step in detail.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Generally, a person’s initial reaction to getting in a car accident is to become stressed. While car accidents are certainly stressful situations, you can’t let them override your logic. After you’ve gotten into an accident, you must collect your thoughts and do the following.
Stop as Soon as Possible
Regardless of the severity or manner (ie. fender bender, blind-spot collision, etc.) of your accident, it is vital that you stop your vehicle as soon as possible. Driving away from an automotive accident in which you were involved is against the law, and can land you in serious legal trouble.
Ideally, you will keep your vehicle in the same spot at which it stopped after the accident. However, if you’re impeding traffic, you should move your vehicle to the nearest parking lot, parking space, or road shoulder.
Turn on Your Flashers
If you leave your vehicle as is in the middle of the road, make sure to turn your flashers on. Your flashers will alert fellow drivers to the fact that your car is parked, ensuring that no further collisions can occur while you’re handling the aftermath of your accident.
Take a Quick Breather
Once you’ve parked your vehicle, you’re advised to take a quick breather. After all, the accident has probably sent you into a bit of a frenzy. You’re likely experiencing a range of different feelings, most of which are not going to be helpful in the coming steps.
Restrain any anger you might be feeling. Eliminate any fear that might be rising. Collect yourself and your emotions so that you can rationally interact with your fellow drivers.
Check on the Other Driver(s)
Your vehicle is now parked in a safe manner. You’ve calmed down and are starting to feel comfortable with the situation at hand. Now, it’s time to begin interacting with the person with whom you’ve just gotten into an accident.
Get out of your vehicle and approach your fellow driver. First thing’s first: ask him or her if he or she is alright. This will help start the conversation off on the right foot, hopefully diffusing any extreme emotions the two of you might be experiencing.
If anyone involved in the accident is hurt or injured, you should call up the paramedics. If no one is injured, you should attempt to make small talk, but keep discussions about the accident to a minimum.
Call the Police
After you’ve made sure that other drivers involved in your accident are safe and healthy, you should call the police. Having a police report of your accident is vital when trying to file a claim with your insurance company.
When speaking to the police, you should refrain from admitting fault in the accident. However, at the same time, you should also refrain from placing blame on the other driver. Just describe the events of the accident to the best of your ability and let the officer decide who was and who wasn’t in the right.
Before the officer leaves the scene, make sure to get his or her name and badge number. This information could come in handy down the line.
Record Photographic Evidence
If you have a camera (smartphone) in your possession, you should take photographs of the accident scene. This will help document the aftermath of the accident, allowing you to better show your insurance company the extent and nature of your accident.
When taking pictures, make sure to get both close-up and distant shots. Not only do you want to have detailed pictures of the damage done, but detailed pictures of the vehicles’ positions as well.
In the end, the more photographic evidence you have, the better. If you have substantial photographic proof that your accident occurred, it’s highly unlikely that your insurance company will be able to deny your claim.
Trade Information With the Other Driver(s)
Perhaps the most important thing to do after you’ve been involved in a car accident is to trade information with the other drivers who were involved in the crash. This way, you can get in touch to handle liability and insurance issues in the future.
There are several pieces of information you’ll want to get from your fellow driver, including his or her license plate number, name, insurance information, and vehicle make and model.
In addition to this, you’ll want to also retrieve passengers’ names, the location of your accident, and eyewitness contact info.
Call Your Insurance Company
Once you’ve traded information with your fellow drivers, you can leave the scene. However, it’s important that you call up your insurance company as soon as possible so that you can file a claim.
Insurance companies often look for any reason not to accept an accident claim. The longer you wait to contact your insurance company, the greater the chance your claim will be denied.
When calling, make sure to have all of your collected information at the ready. You will need to provide a detailed explanation of your accident. You can read more here.
Find More Driving Information Now!
Now that you know what to do after a car accident, you might be looking for other driving-related information. If so, you’re in the right place.
Did You Know Cars has all types of information on driving and cars, covering everything from automobile history to driving rules to vehicle buying and more. If it has to do with cars, it’s likely here.
Check out some of our car facts now!