Car accident checklist: what to do if you have a collision

Being involved in a collision on the road can be very stressful. That goes double if the crash happens when you are still new to driving. Follow this car accident checklist to help you…

1. Don’t panic

Car accidents aren’t pleasant, but they happen. Keep calm, you can cope.

2. Make sure you are safe

Put the car’s hazard lights on, and move to a safe place away from other traffic. If you can do so safely, place a warning triangle in the road to warn other traffic.

3. If anyone has been hurt, call 999

Have you or anyone else involved in the collision been hurt? Then call the police and the ambulance service. The what3words app on your phone will come in handy if you have it as you’ll be able to give a precise location, even if you are on an unfamiliar road.

4. Ask drivers for their details

Make a note of the reg number, name and address, insurer, policy number, and phone number of all the drivers involved. Give your details to them. If anyone refuses to give their details don’t get into a heated argument, but make a note of their reg number and the make and model of their car.

5. Take pictures from a safe place

Take photos of the damage to your car and the other vehicles involved, but do so from a safe place. Don’t wander about in the road focusing on taking pictures if it means you are at risk from other traffic.

6. Make a note of what happened

As soon as you can after following the car accident checklist through steps 1 to 5, write down what happened. Type it into your phone if you don’t have a pen and paper handy. Note the location, time of day, weather conditions, and who did what.

7. Take valuables with you

In all the confusion it’s easy to leave your phone, wallet, or purse in the car. Make sure you take everything with you if the car isn’t driveable after the accident, as it could be stolen from the car while it’s waiting to be recovered from the side of the road.

8. Call your insurer

Get the ball rolling with your claim as soon as you can. It’s fine to go home and have a cuppa first, but don’t leave it for more than a few hours.

9. If you have a dash cam, make the footage available

Dash cams are especially useful to young drivers, as they can prove that you were driving safely even if an older and more experienced driver says you were not. Make the footage available to your insurer and to the police if they are involved.

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