With more and more drivers on the road, a minor crash is almost inevitable. Most of the time they’re nothing to worry about, but there is a procedure you need to follow if you’re involved in an accident, however small.
Our 6 step guide should help you get on your way.
Step 1: Make sure no one is hurt
Safety is the most important thing at this point. Injuries such as whiplash can occur from even a minor crash. If you or your passengers report any pain or unusual symptoms, make sure to get checked out by your doctor, or the nearest minor injuries unit if you’re far from home. Check whether anyone in the other car is hurt too.
Pain from collisions can creep up over time, usually around 24 hours after an incident. If you have not been checked by this point and your symptoms are getting worse, don’t ignore them: go and get checked out.
Step 2: Warn traffic around you
While you’re checking that everyone is safe, flick your hazard lights on to alert cars around you that there has been an incident. Turn off your engine too.
If you have a warning triangle, place that in the road behind the vehicles.
Step 3: Talk to the other driver
The most important thing to remember at this stage is to remain calm. We know it’s hard when you’ve got adrenaline pumping through your system, but arguing with the other driver is not going to help the situation.
Try to establish what happened, but if you disagree or one/ both of you is unsure, let the police sort it out when they arrive (see step 4).
Make notes and take photos while you talk to the other driver. At the very least you both should swap insurance details and contact numbers, but we would also recommend documenting:
- What happened
- Time, date and location
- Details of the vehicles (make, model, registration, colour, estimated speed, direction and number of passengers)
- Contact details of those involved and any witnesses
- Step 4: Inform the police
- Calling the police is not just for major collisions; they can help with minor crashes too. The police can direct traffic, determine what happened and write a report that will help your insurance company.
Report the incident by telling them your phone number, location and a description of what happened.
Alternatively, if both parties are happy to exchange details and deal with their insurance companies (see step 6) you may decide calling the police is unnecessary.
Step 5: Check both cars
Go round both vehicles, inspecting any damage caused by the collision. If you can, take pictures of both cars. These will be useful later for your insurance claim.
Once you know what the damage is and this has been verified with the insurers and/or police, you can organise repairs for your vehicle.
Step 6: File your insurance claim
Get home, take a moment to breathe, and then call your insurance company, even if you only have third party insurance.
It’s important to notify your insurance company of any collisions, even a minor crash, so that they have a full history for your car.
If you remain calm and follow these six simple steps, you’ll be driving away in no time at all and you’ll soon forget you ever had a prang.
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