Before getting into what to do after and automobile accident, let’s first discuss what to do before one. A lot about driving is preparation. You want to be ready to deal with situations that can arise and one of those is obviously an auto accident.
I cannot stress enough the importance of having an emergency kit in your vehicle. Not only will this come in handy if an accident occurs, it can also help with other situations as well (mechanical problems, bad weather, etc). Some things you will want to store in your vehicle include a first-aid kit, road flares, flashlight, basic tools, vehicle fluids, water, blankets, gloves, camera and anything else you feel would be useful.
It may seem obvious, but keep important documents in your vehicle at all times if you can (ID, registration, health insurance card, emergency phone numbers).
Now, after an accident occurs, one of the hardest things to do is to stay calm. Take a deep breath and assess the situation. Check for injuries amongst all individuals involved. If necessary, call 911 to send an ambulance. The police need to be notified even in minor accidents. If possible, move the vehicle to a safe location. If you have them, place cones or flares around the vehicle.
When exchanging information with the other parties involved, it is important not to reveal your liability limits and not to admit fault (even if you think you are). When discussing the details, state the facts only. Make sure to collect the other driver(s) contact information as well as their insurance policy number and company name. You will also want to take photographs and/or video of the scene and vehicle damage. Notify your insurance company immediately. If you can, stay at the scene until all parties have left.
Being involved in any auto accident is stressful and likely to leave you a bit shaken. Hopefully, you won’t have to go through the experience, but if you do, being prepared and knowing what to do will go a long way to helping you stay calm and deal with the situation.
- Keep an emergency kit and important documents in your vehicle at all times
- Check for injuries and call 911 if needed
- Move the vehicle to a safe place
- Exchange insurance and contact information with all parties involved
- Take pictures/video of the scene and vehicles involved
- Contact your insurance company immediately