Imagine this: you’re driving along the open highway on cruise control without a care in the world when suddenly you’re side-swiped by another driver. It can happen to anyone. Your first concern is usually your safety, followed by how much it’s going to cost to repair your vehicle.
Luckily, most of us have car insurance to protect us in situations like this when you’re behind the wheel. And if you’re not one of us, get insurance this instant! It’s illegal to own and operate a vehicle with it.
Let’s take a look at what you should do when you’re involved in an accident along with information that you should collect.
Before you worry about the financial toll an accident will have, safety should come first. The streets can be dangerous (especially the highway). When you’re involved in an accident, you’ll have to make sure that you and your passengers are alright. Once confirmed, you can check on the status of passengers in any other vehicles that may be involved in the collision. If anyone is hurt and requires immediate medical attention, you’ll want to call 911 right away.
Once your medical safety is taken care of, you’ll want to ensure other motorists on the road are safe, too. To ensure this, you’ll want to move your vehicle off of the roadway. Sometimes this is possible, and sometimes this isn’t. For example, if you’re involved in a fender bender, you can easily move your vehicle off to the parking lane of an arterial road or shoulder of a highway. However, if your vehicle is badly damaged and could catch fire at any time, escaping the car to ensure your safety should be your first concern.
If you’re unable to move out of the roadway, you’ll want to turn on your four-way flashers. It’s a good idea to carry warnings triangles or road flares to warn other motorists if you’re blocking a lane. This is especially important at night or during the rain when visibility is limited.
Once you ensure everyone is safe, it’s time to collect data. You’ll want to take the make, model and license plate number of any other vehicles involved in the accident.
You’ll also want to ask for their driver license number, legal name, home address and phone number. Besides personal information, you’ll also want to ask about their insurance. To that end, ask for their insurance policy number and provider.
Further, if there are any witnesses to the accident, take down their names and contact numbers. This will come in handy if the case ends up going to court (otherwise it’s your word against the other driver’s word).
Other information you’ll want to take down about the accident includes the street name and main intersection. It also doesn’t hurt to take photos of the accident scene. This will help figure out who is at fault when it comes time to file a claim with your insurance company.