The UK has one of the best road safety records in Europe, yet there are still many car crashes that occur on a daily basis. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a crash, what do you do?
There are certain steps you should follow when your car has been involved in an accident, regardless of who may have been at fault. Remember that it is an offence to either fail to stop at the scene of an accident or to fail to report an accident which you have been involved in.
Most importantly and without doubt the first thing you should think about is whether anyone may have been injured, including yourself. If you or any of your passengers haven’t been injured, you must get everyone out of the car and check on the people in the other car(s) involved. If anyone looks as though they are hurt, unless they are in immediate danger from oncoming traffic, do not move them!? Call the emergency services and let them deal with it, as moving someone may cause them more damage. When you call the emergency services remember to give as much detail as possible, including the location of the crash, the number of people involved, vehicles involved and try to describe any injuries you can see.? This will help them get to you as quickly as they possibly can. You must also let them know if the crash site is considered a hazard to any other drivers and the police will need to close the road.
If the crash is minor, there are no injuries, or it wasn’t caused by another vehicle, but was the fault of yourself driving into something then it is still a legal requirement to report it to the police within 24 hours of the crash. Failure to do so would result in two things:
1.You will be charged a fine of up to ?5,000 and be given five to ten points on your license.
2.Your insurance company may prevent you from making a claim.
It is easy to become flustered when you have been involved in a crash, but it is important to remain level headed so that you can remember the details clearly. It is a good idea to keep a pen, paper, camera, first aid kit, mobile phone, warning triangle in your car so that you are always prepared if you are involved in a crash. At this point try not to get into any heated arguements about who was to blame. The last thing you need is to cause any more trouble and even if the other driver is feeling argumentative try not to be drawn in.? You need to exchange personal details with the other driver but you should not discuss details of the motor accident with anyone other than the police or your car insurance company.
Note down details such as any registration numbers, names, addresses, telephone numbers, vehicle colour, make and model,time and date of the crash and names of any witnesses. You should also make a note of any injuries sustained as well as if you noticed anything unusual for instance if you think the other driver may have been using their phone whilst driving, they may be under the influence of alcohol or even if the weather conditions were particularly bad. Most people have a mobile phone with a camera these days so if appropriate you should take photos of any damage to the vehicles involved. If you don’t have a camera, jot down a picture of how you saw the accident happen on a bit of paper. This will help you remember important details that you may forget when you leave the crash scene. The more details you have the easier it will be to make a claim on your insurance.
Once you have exchanged all necessary details with any of the other drivers involved, remember to take some time to calm down before driving off, as the last thing you need is to cause another accident because you are so shaken up you are unable to drive responsibly.
You must inform your car insurance company about the accident as soon as possible.? You do not have to do it at the scene of the crash, so don’t worry about it there and then, but there will be a time period set out within your policy so remember to check this.? The time period may be anything from 2 days up to 2 weeks after the accident and if you fail to report it within this time you will invalidate your cover. It is advisable to inform them as soon as you get home so that the details are fresh in your mind.
If you decide to continue with your claim, your insurance company will talk you through the steps of what needs to be done next. If other people were involved in the accident, your insurance company will need to contact the insurance companies of the other drivers and they will resolve the claims based on the evidence you have given them.
Obviously, the best thing is to try and avoid a crash in the first place. Remember never to drive when you are tired as this can affect your level of concentration.? The rule of thumb is to take a fifteen minute rest every two hours. Always keep an eye on your speed and keep within the speed restrictions.? For more information to help you drive safely visit the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accident’s website.