No one likes to think about the possibility of being in a traffic collision. However, even the safest driver is at risk, whether due to someone else’s dangerous driving or poor weather conditions.
Use this guide for the correct steps to follow if you’re in a car accident to ensure you’ll be prepared should the worst happen.
Stop the car
First and most importantly, bring the car to a full halt – in a safe place if possible. This is a legal requirement if you’re in a road traffic collision in the UK. Turn off the engine and put on your hazard lights to alert other drivers to the incident.
Next, check to see if you are injured and if so how badly. Whiplash is common but bear in mind that symptoms might not show immediately, especially if you are in shock.
Consider seeking medical aid if you’re injured, either calling an ambulance, going to A&E or visiting your local GP depending on the severity of your condition. Remember that you can look into making a personal injury compensation claim if the accident wasn’t your fault.
Check on passengers
Once you have completed your self-assessment, check on any passengers who are in the vehicle with you. Look for signs of physical harm and see what mental state they are in. Make sure that everyone is as calm as possible and breathing steadily to avoid going into shock – including you.
Car safety checks
The last checks are related to the car. Make sure that the vehicle is stable and that it’s safe to stay inside. If you are in any doubt and able to do so safely, get out of the car. Go slowly as you might have incurred hidden injuries.
When you are outside of the vehicle, take a moment to gather information from the scene. You will need this for your insurance company and any other claims that you make.
Note down the vehicle model, colour and registration plate, and the date, time and weather conditions. If possible, take a photo of the scene, including your car and any key areas of damage.
Swap insurance details
Make sure to swap insurance details with the other driver before you or they leave the scene. Your insurance provider should cover the cost of the other vehicle’s repairs (and vice versa), as well as any property that was damaged or any medical bills that are incurred by the other driver.
Be aware that one in five UK traffic collisions are caused by uninsured drivers, and only those who have fully comprehensive car insurance can make a financial claim against them in these cases.
Report the accident
Last but not least, report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. You should notify the police in the event of any injuries, or if you were unable to exchange details with the other driver.
Preferably this should take place at the scene, otherwise as soon as you’re in a safe place and feeling well enough to do so.
In the event of a car accident, remember the importance of safety, both for yourself and others involved. Swiftly assess any injuries and gather essential information from the scene. Ensure you exchange insurance details with the other driver and promptly report the incident to your insurance company. These actions will help you handle the situation effectively and responsibly.