A car accident can create tension in any driver, regardless of whether injuries are present. Staying calm is the first step to handling a car accident properly. Other than remaining calm, responsible drivers will follow a few additional rules after an accident. Read on for tips and advice.
Call the Police
Whenever an accident occurs, police should be called. Dial 9-1-1 and request a dispatcher to send an officer to your location. When the officer arrives, explain what happened and request an accident report. This report is especially beneficial when it comes to making an insurance claim. Insurance companies will want to see a report from police before handling any claims you make.
The 9-1-1 dispatcher will ask if there are injuries. If someone is injured, request an ambulance. You should seek medical help for any injuries, even if they appear to be minor. Sometimes people think they are fine if they don’t have external injuries. However, this is not always the case. A physician can examine you and determine if you have injuries requiring further medical attention. You should also be cautious about risking further bodily harm to yourself. For instance, if you need to cross the street on foot, look both ways and proceed with caution.
Show Courtesy Toward Other Drivers
If you are able to, ask the other driver if he or she is okay. However, you should also consider your own safety. If you think you have broken bones or other serious injuries, try to remain still until an ambulance arrives. This means that you may be unable to check on the other driver. While it is a good idea to be courteous to the other driver, do not admit fault. Rather than admit fault, try to focus and remember the circumstances of the accident. Relay those circumstances in detail to the police when the officer arrives.
Another way in which you should be courteous is by moving to a safer location. If your car is blocking traffic or poses a hazard to other drivers, you should move it out of the way. However, if you think moving would pose a driving hazard, stay put. Turn on your caution lights. Some drivers stubbornly refuse to move a vehicle. This is because he or she is afraid police won’t be able to determine what happened. However, based on drivers’ statements and the conditions of vehicles, police can determine what happened, even if vehicles are moved.
Gather Important Information
If you are able to, get as much info from the other driver as you can. Ask for his or her name, address and phone number. Also, you should write down the driver’s license plate number and insurance company name. The license plate number is especially important if the other driver leaves the scene before police arrive. If the other driver leaves, give the plate number to police. The plate number can help the officer track down the driver.
Stay on the scene of the accident until after the officer has taken the police report. Leaving the scene could get you into legal trouble, especially if you’re charged with a hit and run. After the officer has written the police report, ask when the report will be officially filed and ready. You will need a copy of it for your records. If you have to contact your insurance company, they will want a copy of the report, too.
Getting involved in an accident is scary. However, you can relieve some tension by being prepared. Always call police for a report and request an ambulance if there are injuries. Never admit fault to the other driver. Give an accurate and detailed account of what happened to the responding police officer.