It’s difficult to think clearly and remember what you need to do when you’ve just been involved in a car accident. At the time most people will be upset and may be worried about their passengers or the driver of the other car having been hurt. So a useful tip is to print off a list of the key things to remember, and keep it in the glovebox of your car, together with a notepad and pen. That way the checklist is always to hand for you to refer to in the unhappy event of you being involved in a collision.
First things first – stay safe. If you’ve been involved in a collision where vehicles have been damaged or someone has been hurt, it’s a legal requirement that you stop. But if the crash has happened somewhere where you are vulnerable to other road users, and your car is still drivable, then move it to the nearest safe spot off the road, and make sure that everyone involved is away from traffic.
Check for injuries. If anyone has been hurt, you must call the emergency services, and if you feel that your vehicles represent a hazard to other road users then report the accident immediately to the police and tell them exactly where you are so that they can secure the road. In the meantime you or other witnesses might need to warn other road users of the hazard – if you carry a warning triangle in your car, now is the time to use it.
Try to stay calm. Both you and the other driver are likely to be upset and possibly angry. Try to stay calm and focus on what needs to be done. Avoid admitting any liability, or getting into a discussion or argument about the details of the accident.
Exchange details with the other driver. Get as many details as possible from the other driver. Record the registration number of their car, together with the colour, make and model. Ask them if they are the registered keeper, and if not, record the details of the owner. Write down their name, address and phone numbers, and give them your own details. If the police are at the scene they will ask for your insurance document, and if you don’t carry it in your car you will need to produce it at your local police station within seven days.
Record as much evidence as possible. If you are able to do so safely before moving your vehicles, take as many photos on your mobile as possible of the scene of the collision, the position of the vehicles, and the damage suffered. Make a sketch of the road layout, mark any traffic lights or street signs, and record the names of streets. Ask any witnesses for their names and addresses so that they can corroborate your statement later if needed. It’s surprising how many people change their story a day or two after an accident, particularly if it seems that they were at fault.
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. Their helpline will be set up to provide you with support and advice, and take the worry of dealing with the other driver’s insurer off your shoulders. Remember to provide them with all the evidence that you have collected so that liability can be proved.
This information was provided to you by Allianz Your Cover (www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk).