Never been in a car accident? Lucky you! You know what they say about people who have never been in a car accident, though. You can be as careful as you like, but it’s going to happen sooner or later!
Okay, so it is a bit of an exaggeration to claim that you’re definitely going to be in an accident at some point. But judging from the statistics out there, it seems that it’s not entirely unlikely you’ll run into some trouble at some point. And if you’ve never been in an accident before, it means you’re not going to know what to expect. And you should definitely have a plan of action in case you do have one.
So what happens when you get into a car accident? What are you supposed to do? Obviously there are several things that could happen. The other driver could simply drive away, for example. Which would kinda ruin the flow of what I’m listing here. But let’s just assume that the other driver doesn’t drive away.
Yeah, but what if they do drive away?
No matter how minor the accident may seem, it’s illegal to drive away from the scene. Once two parties are involved in a car accident, they’re both entering an extremely sensitive arena, law-wise. Driving away shows further negligence
What if I just drive away?
Again, it’s illegal. Don’t do that. The entire process that I’m about to list is probably going to take you less than ten minutes. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to be late for work. You’ve been in a car accident; I’m sure your boss is going to understand.
Stay calm and make sure everyone is okay
You should drill this into your memory: if something happens, stay calm. Make sure everyone is okay. You need to remember all these steps, so try your best not to panic.
Be careful when you speak to the other driver!
Even when it’s not their fault, people often say “sorry” as a reflex. Don’t do that here. Make sure the other driver is okay, but don’t enter a discussion about blame.
Chances are that neither of you know exactly what happened. This situation can be even more sensitive from a legal standpoint if this was a motorcycle accident. If you start throwing blame around, especially at yourself, you could be getting yourself into legal trouble.
Call emergency services and report the accident
If someone has been injured, then call an ambulance. Either way, you’re probably going to want to call the police. If the accident is now blocking the road, they will help clean up and get the traffic moving again.
Give and collect details
You and the other driver should exchange contact details. You don’t have much of a choice here; you’re legally obliged to do so. If there were any witnesses to the accident, see if they’d be willing to give you contact details. You should also be taking as many pictures as you can of the accident.
Thankfully, smartphones make that pretty easy! The photos will have a timestamp, but try to get a more accurate time of precisely when the collision occurred.