With the roads busier than ever, filled with locals in a hurry and holidaymakers who are unfamiliar with the roads, traffic collisions are inevitable. Being involved in an accident, even if it isn’t serious and it’s not your fault, can be an unpleasant experience. It can help if you are prepared and know exactly what you should do. In this series we will talk you through what you should do after an accident, and some common questions that road users have.
As soon as an accident happens – if your car is driveable, keep driving and stop your vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so. Driving away – even if it was a minor collision and it wasn’t your fault – is an offence which could result in six months’ imprisonment. Switch your engine off and put the hazard lights on.
Check yourself and your passengers – make sure that you and your passengers are ok.
Dial 999 – if anyone is injured, call an ambulance. If the road has been blocked, call the police.
Exit the vehicle – provided that everyone is able to move (they are not trapped or injured), make sure all passengers (including pets) leave the vehicle to wait in a safe space. If you are on the motorway, pets must stay in the vehicle. If it is an emergency, you can let them out, but they must be kept under control on the verge. Make sure that all passengers stay well back from the road
Exchange details – drivers must provide their name and address to everyone involved in the accident. If the driver isn’t the owner of the vehicle, they must also provide the owner's details. If nobody is injured, you’re not obliged to exchange insurance details – but it can help the claim process if you do.
Reporting the accident – according to the road Traffic Act, it is essential that you report an accident within 24 hours of it occurring. If you don’t need to call 999, you can do this by calling 101.
Make notes – at the time, you may feel as though you will remember the details, but it is easy to forget them. Make notes or take photos of other vehicles involved, or who may have witnessed the incident so that the details remain fresh in your memory.
Nobody plans to be in a road traffic collision, but if you are, it will pay to be prepared and aware of what you should do to keep yourself and your passengers safe, and to ensure that you are appropriately compensated (and not left out of pocket) in the future. If you have a minor collision, before taking the insurance route, you may want to consult your local garage – the cost of repairing may be less than your excess and the impact on your insurance premium in the future. For more guidance, follow Trust A Garage on Facebook or Twitter.