After an Accident: A Guide
Nothing is more nerve-wracking than an accident, and rare is the driver who can go through life without being involved in one. No matter how carefully you drive and no matter how sound your judgment, statistics show that your chances of being involved in an accident are high. Ask anyone who has been involved in one, and he’ll tell you that the aftermath of an accident—the ordeal of having to exchange information with the involved parties and the process of dealing with the insurance company—is often as or more dispiriting as the accident itself. That’s why we’ve put together this convenient guide to dealing with an accident.
This guide applies to accidents in which no one has been seriously injured. In the event that someone was injured, call 911 immediately.
Protect Yourself from Other Cars
Make sure that you and your passengers are protected from the very real danger of oncoming or passing traffic. Pull over to the side if the road if possible. If that’s not an option—if say, your car is so badly damaged that you cannot move it—wait until you’re absolutely sure that it’s safe to leave the vehicle and walk quickly to the side of the road. Should this, too, not be possible, turn on your emergency lights, fasten your seatbelt and those of your passengers, and wait for help.
Call the Police
Too often, we hear of people being blamed for accidents they did not cause. The best way to prevent this from happening is to call the police and request that they write up an accident report. As you wait for the police to arrive at the scene of your accident, ask the other driver for the necessary documents—e.g., license, registration, insurance, etc.
Use Your Cell Phone to Take Pictures
Your cell phone is most likely equipped with a camera—use it! Take pictures of your and the other driver’s car from every possible angle. Also, take pictures of your surroundings. If witnesses saw what happened, ask them for their names and numbers.