So what should you do in the event of a car accident?
Though it’s never nice to think of it, accidents on the road do happen from time to time. Though travelling on the UK’s roads is predominantly a safe exercise, collisions do occur and it’s best to be prepared in case one happens to you.
Here, we’re going to go through some of the key steps to follow so that you and the ones around you can stay as safe as possible.
Stop, switch off the engine and start hazard lights
This is your first port of call if an accident occurs. You’ll need to make sure that your vehicle has been brought to a completely safe stop, with the handbrake applied to ensure that it can’t move anywhere else.
Once stopped, you should switch off the engine. This is important as, if there has been any damage done to the engine, allowing it to remain on could cause further issues. Activate your hazard lights at this point to alert other road users to your presence.
Check that everyone is okay
Once you’ve got the car stopped and shut off you can check how everyone is doing in the vehicle. Check for any minor or major injuries, but be sure to note down any issues that arise with any of the passengers.
You could do this with a voice note on your phone or a scrap of paper. It’ll come in useful later on when you’ll need to recount what happened.
Call the police or ambulance
You’ll need to call the police if the other driver involved has left the scene, if you suspect them of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if you think that they’ve caused the accident on purpose.
Likewise, if there are any injuries caused to any of your passengers or those in the other vehicles, the ambulance should be called as soon as possible. However, if it is a genuine accident - with both parties agreeing and without injury - then there’s no need to call the emergency services.
The shock of an accident can affect people differently, but one of the key things to remember is to stay calm as doing so will make decision-making easier. So take a breath, collect your thoughts and proceed.
Don’t lose your temper, either. Though it can be easy to get angry at another road user in the event of an accident, it simply won’t help the situation.
In order to proceed, both parties will need to share details. You’ll need to share your name and address with the other vehicle and insurance information will need to be swapped too.
At this point, it’s a good idea to get the names of any passengers involved and any witnesses to the accident, too. This will make things easier when the insurance claim is processed later on.
Take down any extra information
To support your claim, it’ll help to note down any extra information at the time of the accident. For instance, you should note down the exact time of the incident, as well as the road conditions and weather.
It’s also a good idea to take as many photographs as you can. Use your mobile to snap images of the damage caused, the locations of the cars and anything else that might help support your claim.
Call your insurance
While the incident is still fresh in your mind, call the insurance. You’ll need to give them your policy number as well as the details of the other driver - or drivers - involved.
This will kick-start your claim but doing so quickly will help ensure that the information you provide is as accurate as possible.
Don’t want to claim?
Even if you don’t want to submit a claim, you’ll need to inform your insurance provider. Many people choose not to make a claim if they’d rather conduct the repairs themselves or to protect their no-claims bonus. This might be the case if it’s a minor accident that has caused minimal damage to a vehicle.