Although many drivers think they would never get into a car accident, things happen with everybody. Millions of people get involved into car wrecks every year, many suffer injuries, so it is always good to be prepared for a situation like this. You might not be at fault, but knowing what to do in case of an accident is necessary.
The Consumer Protection Association of America has put together a list of suggestions to help drivers act appropriately in case of an accident. So, if this happens, try to stay calm and following these steps:
1. Be prepared for an emergency situation. Nowadays almost every person carries a cell phone in a pocket. It is always good to have it in the car in case of an accident. A driver should also have a pen and paper for taking notes, a disposable camera for taking pictures and a card with information about medical problems, allergies, medicines taken or anything else which might be helpful in case of a serious injury. It is also good to keep a list of contacts. Some insurance companies offer kits like these which contain a flashlight, a disposable camera and accident documentation instructions. A set of cones, warning triangles or emergency flares should be present in the trunk at all times.
2. Move out of the way. If a minor accident happened and there are no serious injuries, it is better to move to the side of the road, out of the way of oncoming traffic. Remaining in the middle of the road on a busy intersection might result in additional accidents. If a vehicle cannot be moved, the driver and the passengers should remain on their seats with the seatbelts fastened for more safety. Do not forget to set out warning hazards: cones, triangles and flares, and turn on the lights.
3. Exchange information. After the wreck took place exchange all necessary information with the other driver. In a situation like this people usually get angry and tend to blame each other in the accident. Stay calm, do not express your opinion until it is asked for and take information like: driver’s name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number and license plate number for the driver and the owner of the vehicle. You should also give the same information about yourself to the other driver. If the name on the insurance is different from the driver’s name, find out about the relationship between the driver and the insurance holder. Take a written description of the other vehicle: year, make, model and color. You can also write down about the collision: how it happened and where.
4. Photograph and document the accident. If you have any kind of camera, use it to make pictures of the event. It is important that the photos show an overall picture of the accident. This will help to adjust the insurance claims better. Write down everything you can about the accident. If there were witnesses, take their contact information.
5. File an accident report. Although in many places it is not required unless there are injuries, a driver should still file a state vehicle accident report available in a nearby police station and on the Department of Motor Vehicles website. This will make the insurance companies work quicker in processing the claims.
6. Know your coverage. It is easier to deal with insurance claim and know what to expect, if the policy holder knows the details of the coverage. Study all the aspects before signing the insurance contract, not after you get into an accident: for example, many people find out that their policy did not cover towing or a replacement rental car only when they actually need it and have to pay full price from their pocket.