With more and more road users, accidents are increasingly likely; even the most careful drivers can be involved due to a lapse in concentration or just plain bad luck. Last week we took a look at the basic law regarding collisions. We all think that we know what to do and what not to do in the event of a road collision, but when the adrenaline and anxiety kick in, that knowledge can go out of the window.
Read our step by step guide on what you should do if you are involved in a road traffic collision.
If you are involved in an accident, you should:
- Stop as soon as you can (failing to do so is a criminal offence).
- Switch off your engine and turn your hazard lights on.
- Try to stay calm - take a moment to collect yourself and take a few deep breaths.
- Check to see if you or any of your passengers are injured.
- If anyone is hurt, or if the road is blocked, call the police and ambulance.
- Don’t lose your temper and blame another road user or shout.
- Don’t accept responsibility or apologise at this point; you may feel bad about the accident but wait until you are completely clear of exactly what happened. This will protect you if you are not at fault.
You should call the police if:
- Any drivers involved in the accident leaves the scene without giving you their details.
- If you think that the other driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- If you suspect that the other driver is uninsured or that they caused the collision intentionally.
As described in last week’s blog, you should swap relevant details with the other driver. In addition, it pays to be observant and take in other details, including:
- The make, model and registration of all vehicles involved in the accident as well as those who may have witnessed the accident (you can take pictures if it is easier).
- Time and date of the crash.
- Driving conditions; state of the road, lighting, weather and the condition of the road (muddy, potholes, recently resurfaced etc).
- Any apparent damage to vehicles or property.
- Any apparent injuries.
- Potential witnesses; ask for their contact details if you think it could help.
Contact your insurer:
If damage is caused and you or another party are likely to make a claim, it is a good idea to contact your insurance company and let them know. If you and the other driver(s) are equally responsible for the incident, you may agree to cover the costs of your own repairs; in this instance, it is up to you whether you pay your excess and risk losing a no claims discount, or you pay for any damage yourself.