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Accidents: What To Do (And What Not To Do) Part 1

All road users dread the thought of being in any kind of collision and hope that it is something they will never have to deal with, but with around 239,000 vehicles reported in accidents in 2017, we are all at risk on a daily basis. Even small prangs can have a big impact; in this series, we look at the basics of what to do and what not to do, and offer guidance on the steps you need to take should you be involved in a road traffic collision.

Always stop

It is an offence to drive away from, or fail to report, an incident that you have been involved in. If you are driving a vehicle that is directly involved in an incident or whose presence was a factor in an incident and either:

  1. Damage is caused to another vehicle or somebody’s property (e.g. a fence, gate, sign, lamp or bollard),
  2. Somebody is injured (other than yourself) or
  3. An animal that is not in your vehicle or trailer has been killed or injured

you must do the following:

  • Stop as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Stay at the scene.
  • Give your details (registration number, address, name and name of the vehicle owner if you don’t own it yourself) to anyone that could be affected, e.g. an injured person, or the owner of property or animals that have been damaged or injured.
  • If, for any reason, you don’t hand your details over at the scene, you must report it at your local police station as soon as you can and within 24 hours of the incident.
  • If a person is hurt, you must provide insurance details either at the scene or at a police station or to a police constable within 24 hours.

If reporting to the police, you must do so in person; not via a third person or on the telephone.

Nobody expects to be involved in a collision and even a tiny bump can get the adrenaline pumping which causes your fight or flight responses to kick in. Don’t argue over blame or fault, but don’t accept all of the blame, either. Take a few minutes to calm down, slow down, and note other witnesses who may be able to recall what happened with more clarity.

If you are involved in a collision the basics are to stay at the scene, call for help if necessary, and not accept responsibility straight away; next week, we look into more detail and take you through, step by step, what to do immediately after an accident and in the following days and weeks.

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