In one split second, driving to work or running a quick errand can change your life. Following the collision, you are likely trying to process the unexpected crash and what to do next. The steps you take and the decisions you make can make a difference, whether you or the other driver is at fault.
First and foremost, ensure that you and everyone involved in the crash are safe. From there, and if you are able, move to a safer location such as a road or sidewalk. A car that is still drivable should be pulled onto the shoulder as well. Turn off the engine, turn on hazard lights, or use road flares as a warning to all oncoming drivers.
Calling 911 – whether the accident was minor or caused significant damage – and waiting for emergency personnel is paramount, particularly if someone has suffered injuries. In some states, calling for help is required by law. From there, an officer will document everything in an accident report. Securing a copy is essential for the claims process.
Should your car require a tow, steer clear of what is referred to as “bandit” tow trucks. The National Insurance Crime Bureau defines them as a driver who hasn’t been called but still offers to “help.” Many are nothing more than scams where drivers hold a vehicle hostage to secure an exorbitant amount of money.
Exchanging information is essential. You should have the other driver’s full name and all contact information. You will also need their driver’s license, license plate number, vehicle type, model, and color. Document the location of the collision as well.
Thanks to the advent of smartphones with cameras, documenting information has never been easier. In these settings, there is no such thing as taking too many pictures.
Being proactive during a time of chaos is challenging but necessary, particularly when dealing with a motor vehicle accident that was not your fault.