What to do if you're in an accident

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If you’re really, really lucky, you’ll never be in a car accident.

However, sometimes it’s out of your control – you can’t help it if someone drives carelessly!

It’s important to remember that most accidents are minor, and can be quickly dealt with if you remain calm.

Here are some pointers on what to do if you find yourself in a car accident.

Make sure you stop

Simply put, you must stop the car – even if the accident wasn’t your fault.

You need to stay at the scene for a reasonable time if:

  • A person other than yourself is injured.
  • Another vehicle, or someone else’s property, has damage.
  • An animal has been killed or injured.

Turn off your engine and turn on your hazard lights – phone 999 if it’s required.

If the accident is severe and anyone has injuries, you should contact the emergency services immediately.

1784

That’s how many people lose their lives on Britain’s roads in a single year. Stay safe and drive carefully.

Source: Brake, 2020

Act fast – are there any injuries?

Check to see if somebody is hurt and if necessary call 999. Also, make sure you’re not hurt – sometimes shock can cause you not to feel pain.

If anyone has any injuries, you mustn’t move them unless you’re medically qualified!

The ambulance service will talk you through the best way to help until they arrive.

Is there a risk to other road users?

You must call the Police (even if no one is hurt) if you believe the accident may be putting other traffic at risk.

To assess whether it’s a risk, consider:

  • Are the damaged vehicles on a blind spot such as a bend or brow of a hill?
  • Is there a spillage of petrol or oil?
  • Is it dark?
  • Has the accident blocked the road or and is it causing traffic congestion?

You could warn other drivers of the hazard by setting up a Warning Triangle at least 45 metres behind the accident, only if it’s safe to do so.

You should wear a high visibility jacket (if you have it) regardless of daylight.

Record the scene

After you’ve assessed that no one is hurt and that your vehicle isn’t a risk to other road users, make sure to record the scene.

You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll forget if you don’t write it down! You will need precise, accurate details for insurance purposes.
Record:

  • Time and date of the accident
  • Where the accident took place
  • What the weather was like
  • The speed limit and any road restrictions
  • How the accident happened

Take a photo on your mobile phone recording the position of the cars and any damage to your vehicle.

Exchange details

Finally, after you’ve confirmed that everything is safe and you’ve recorded all you need to at the incident, it’s time to swap details.

Don’t be nervous and never say sorry – this is admitting blame and can cause you some issues. Remain neutral.

You’ll need to exchange the following details:

  • Name & address
  • Contact number
  • Name of their Insurer and Policy Number
  • Vehicle registration number and colour and model
  • Vehicle Owner’s name and address (if different from the driver)
  • Also, get the details of any passengers or witnesses as they could be very beneficial

Contact your insurance

If you’re in a car accident, you’ll need to contact your insurance company – even if there’s no damage or injuries. Check out our guide on how to make an insurance claim.