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GUIDE TO WHAT TO DO IN A ROAD ACCIDENT
This 10 point guide has been written to provide you with a reminder of what to do in the event of being involved in a traffic accident. You may want to print out a copy and leave it in your glove compartment along with a couple of blank sheets of paper and a pen.
The first thing to do if you are in a road accident is to stop. Failure to do so means that you will be breaking the law, regardless of who caused the accident.
2. KEEP CALM
Being involved in an accident can be both a shock and prove frustrating. Try and stay as calm as possible. Panicking or losing your temper will not help in what can be a difficult situation and keeping calm will help you to manage the incident as well as possible.
3. KEEP SAFE
Don’t make a bad situation worse by putting yourself, your passengers and other road users at risk of injury or further injury. Turn off your engine; put your hazard lights on; take care when getting out of the car – using the passenger side door may be the safest thing to do; keep a safe distance away from your vehicle and other traffic; don’t smoke or use your phone if there is a risk of a fuel spill; do not move any vehicle unless there is a risk of creating further danger for yourself or other road users.
4. STAY PUT
Do not leave the scene of the accident until you have at least exchanged details with anyone else involved in the accident. This is both a legal requirement and an important part of any insurance claim. If any other party involved leaves the scene without exchanging details, call the police. If the police are called to the incident, wait for them to arrive.
5. IN CASE OF INJURY
If someone is injured, call the police and if necessary the ambulance service (999 or possibly 112 from mobile phones). If you or any other parties present can administer first aid, then do so as long as you are not going to create more danger. Keeping a first aid manual and first aid kit in the car is a good idea. Try to keep any injured people calm until the emergency services arrive.
6. CONTACT THE POLICE
Call the police if:
- Someone is injured or if the accident is blocking a road or creating a hazard
- Another party involved leaves the accident scene.
- You have hit a farm animal or dog (running into wild animals and cats does not require police notification).
- There is any damage to public or private property (a road sign or a wall for example).
If in doubt it’s usually best to call the police and let them determine whether their presence is needed.
7. EXCHANGE DETAILS
It is a legal requirement for those involved in road accidents to exchange certain details with each other. These details will also be required for any insurance claim. Try to get (and offer the other party) the following:
- Contact details
- Name, address and contact details of vehicle owner if not the driver (e.g. company car)
- Insurance details (if available)
- Vehicle registration
- Vehicle make, model and colour
Also get the names and contact details of any witnesses. Do this as soon as possible as they may not stay at the scene for long.
8. DON’T ADMIT FAULT
Regardless of who is at fault for the accident, do not admit blame as this may affect any insurance claims. Don’t discuss details of any potential insurance claim with any other party – you need to speak to your insurer first.
9. TAKE PHOTOS/MAKE A SKETCH
If you have one, use the camera on your phone to take photos of the accident and the surrounding site. Make a sketch showing the position of vehicles and noting the point of collision. Try and draw a simple diagram that shows exactly what happened. Make a note of anything else that you think may be material – approximate speeds, weather conditions, other driver using a phone, road lighting, etc. Make a note of the time of the crash too. Doing this as soon after the crash should mean it is more accurate than trying to recall it later
10. INSURANCE COMPANY
Contact your car insurance company as soon as possible after the accident, even if you don’t intend to claim on your insurance policy. Most insurers require notification within a specified period after any accident. Give them as much detail as you can including the details you have collected from other drivers and witnesses. Failure to contact your insurer may result in them refusing to provide you cover in the future.