Nobody wants to have any involvement in a traffic accident. However, the sad truth is that such incidents occur every day. Not only that, but the last few years they have increased in rate. None of us think that it will happen to us; however, nobody can say for certain what the likelihood of a motor accident is. The best that you can do is make yourself as prepared as possible. If you are prepared, then you can, at least, make the most of a bad situation. One of the main aspects of being prepared for such an occurrence lies in knowing what to do if it does happen. Truthfully, most people are at a loss when it comes to the moments following an accident on the road. If you have a good idea of what steps you need to take, then you will already be a step ahead of most road users. With that in mind, let’s take a look now at what the essential steps are for when you have been involved in an accident.

Stop

The first thing you must do is come to a complete stop. This is really important – even if you think that the accident is minor, you must stop the car and switch off the engine. Not only is this good etiquette to show the other road users who are involved – it is also a legal requirement. Even if it appears as though no damage has been done, you should stop. If anyone else involved in the incident drives away, then you should call the police immediately to have them attend the scene.

Check For Injuries

The safety and security of all people involved are of paramount importance. Before checking the possible damage on your vehicles, first check the people involved. It is important, at this stage, to note the following: if anybody is injured, even slightly, then you must call the police. This is a legal requirement – and it may well save you a huge headache further on down the line. Particularly if a court case becomes involved, you will be grateful that the police were called. You might also need to call an ambulance, but this depends on the situation. It should be obvious from what has happened whether or not this is necessary, so use your common sense. It is at this point, too, that you might want to consider contacting your auto accident attorney, if you have one. If you don’t have one, take a look here for some information: http://www.bolingricealpharetta.com/auto-accidents/

Swap Details

One really important part of the procedure you should take every effort to remember is to swap details with the other people involved. Most people know that you should swap details with the other relevant parties – what is less known is what kinds of details should be swapped. The bare minimum is to swap names, addresses and contact details. But you should seek to swap as much information as you possibly can. It is a good idea, for example, to give details of your insurance provider, and any other insurance details you might have. Once again, the more information you can provide, the better. If you happen to have your policy number on you, then you should provide this. You should also make every effort to receive the same level of detailed information from the other parties. Also be sure to take a note of all the registration numbers of the vehicles involved. It is also advisable to take photographs, if possible, of the scene from different angles. These might come in handy for a number of reasons. Firstly, if you need to make a claim on your insurance, then photographic evidence will help a great deal. Secondly, if the incident is taken to court, then photographs might prove to be essential to proceedings. The truth is, you can’t collate too much evidence. The more you collect, the better. For more on this look here: https://www.allstate.com/tools-and-resources/

Report To Police

If you have not already contacted the police, then you should do so now. You should have already contacted them and called them to the scene if anyone is injured. However, if there are no injuries, you should still report the incident. They do not need to come to the scene necessarily. However, it is a good idea on everyone’s behalf if they have the incident on file. Reports should be filed with the police within twenty-four hours, while the incident is still fresh in your mind. More on this here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/. At this stage, you should ask the police to provide you with a crime reference number. They should do this automatically anyway, but they don’t always do so. If you have the crime reference number, it makes things a lot easier for you. This is particularly so if you plan to make a claim through your insurance provider. They are likely to ask you for this number, so keep it handy.

Review, Repair, Readjust

It is a good idea to spend some time after the event reviewing what happened. In this way, you can learn what went wrong and so lessen the likelihood of the same thing happening again. This is the kind of experience you don’t want to go through twice, so you may as well learn as much as you can from it. Ask yourself if there is anything you could have done differently. Even if the incident was not your fault, there might have been something you could have done. You might have learnt the importance of keeping your insurance details with you, for example. This is also a good time to repair anything which might need repairing on your vehicle. You will need to decide whether you can keep the vehicle, and repair it, or whether you should scrap it altogether. If there are any minor problems with the car, you should still get them fixed at your earliest convenience. Ultimately, you want to ensure that you are less likely to be in a similar incident again. For this reason, you should do everything you can to learn from the incident and move on.

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Emily Muelford

Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.

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