Being involved in a collision can be incredibly distressing, and it is common for those involved to make rash decisions due to stress and trauma. However, failing to stop at the scene of an accident or report the situation altogether can result in a significant fine, along with a potential prison sentence and driving disqualification. With this in mind, regardless of whether you are a new or experienced driver, it is imperative to familiarise yourself on what to do if you are ever involved in a collision. Although the likelihood is low and it isn’t a situation we hope to ever think about, the topic, unfortunately, cannot be ignored.
To ensure that you feel confident enough to be able to handle the repercussions of a collision calmly, we have devised a full guide to answer the common question of, “just had an accident what next?”
Answering The Question… Just Had An Accident What Next?
Taking driving lessons and passing your all-important practical test is a huge milestone. Many say that although you have successfully passed your test, the real challenge doesn’t begin until you get behind the wheel independently without the reassurance and support of your instructor.
The roads can be a dangerous place, and often hazardous situations arise not due to your own decisions, but the lack of responsibility of other drivers. Because of this, it is likely that even after years of driving, you will still encounter scenarios that you will not quite feel prepared for nor know how to handle. No matter the size of the accident, there will always be the initial feeling of adrenaline, which is the main reason as to why many individuals fail to carry out the adequate steps to deal with the situation.
Regulations included in the Road Traffic Act 1988 state that when involved in a collision or accident with another road user, you must stop. Even if the situation may seem minuscule and no damage has occurred, by law, you must stop, or you risk committing an illegal offence.
The very first step towards managing a collision, before you even attempt to inspect vehicles or note down information of those involved, is to check as to whether all passengers are safe and well. Assess your current state, along with the condition of all others involved – safety is critical and will always come above anything else. If you believe that anyone is showing signs of injury, regardless of how minor it may it, ensure that you seek medical attention through ringing 999 to get in touch with the NHS Ambulance Service.
When Should I Let The Authorities Know?
Road collisions are time sensitive, which means that you must inform the police of the situation within 24 hours. Failing to notify the police leaves you liable to penalty points of your licence, a cash fine and potential driving disqualification.
It is not uncommon for the road user guilty of causing the accident to leave the scene of the crime immediately before you get the opportunity to speak to them. If this is the unfortunate case, ensure that you note down their registration number and contact the police as soon as possible. It is recommended, if possible, to keep a notepad and pen in your vehicle at all times, just in case this particular situation occurs and you need to make quick notes. When you call the police, ensure that your car is stationary and you have switched on your hazard lights to notify other road users. Stand outside of your vehicle away from oncoming traffic to make the call as this, again, will make it clear to other road users that they need to go around you.
Who Do I Give And Take Information From?
Fortunately, not all road users are irresponsible enough to drive straight off after a collision without stopping and addressing the situation. In the majority of accidents, both vehicles involved will stay and swap information, which means that there is a number of points that you need to note down.
Firstly, you will need to exchange both insurance and registration information. It is vital that you spend time ensuring that you have gathered all relevant, accurate information from the other driver so that if you do need to make a claim, the process can be completed quicker. You must also ask for their name, address and all contact information. Keep in mind that, while you may not be at fault, you are still obliged to provide your own personal details, including all of the information mentioned above.
Do not forget to ask the driver whether they are the registered owner of the vehicle. Although we are not assuming that the vehicle may be stolen, it may be the case that they are an insured named driver as opposed to the primary driver.
In the unlikely event that you are involved in a collision with a foreign vehicle, again, you need to note down both the number plate, along with the type of vehicle. If you have been in a crash with a company vehicle, ask the driver what company it belongs to, so if needs be, the insurance company can get into contact with the company.
You should always have your car insurance information written down somewhere. Whether you have it all stored in your phone or in your car, make sure you have all relevant paperwork along with your driving licence.
One last tip to remember is that you should never take the blame unless you know it was your fault. Do not apologise for anything if you are feeling unsure as this could be used against you if the driver was to make a claim.
What Additional Information Should I Note Down?
As well as the registration of the vehicle, you should also make a note of the following information:
- The colour, make and model of the car, lorry or van
- The time and date of the incident
- A description of the weather conditions at the time of the accident, along with the road quality, i.e. if there are any potholes
- A list of any damages that may have occurred to your vehicle
- Any injuries incurred by yourself, pedestrians or passengers
Along with a description, if possible, take photos of all of the points mentioned above. Pictures tell a story a million times better than any verbal account can and is the perfect evidence when making a claim. It is increasingly effective in helping towards providing that the collision was not your fault.
Car Insurance Claim
It is essential to inform your insurance provider immediately, particularly if your car is damaged and you need to make a claim. The earlier that you can begin the process of making your claim, the quicker it is likely to be solved. If you do not let your car insurance policyholder know within a set time stated on your policy, you could potentially make the policy void, therefore, will not be covered when making a claim.
Dealing with insurance companies can be difficult to deal with at the best of times, but even more so when you need them to help you to make a claim. To make the process as straightforward as possible, you need to provide your insurance provider with enough information within the given time frame for them to do their jobs effectively. If it is safe to do so, it usually is best to contact your insurance company at the scene of the accident when all details are fresh in your mind.
Should I Consider Getting A Dash Cam?
Many drivers opt for installing dash cams to their vehicles, so if they are ever caught in a collision, they have visual evidence of how the situation unfolded. Many insurance claims take months to settle mainly due to the lack of evidence and no real indication as to who was at fault. A picture is worth a thousand words; therefore, video footage remains incredibly more valuable than any other form of proof. A dash cam allows you to provide an accurate step by step account of what happened. Although a dash cam is increasingly beneficial, they may not always work in your favour. Insurance providers will pick apart every detail of the footage, which means that any slight issues that work against you will be brought up and used.
If you are yet to invest into a dash cam and are not quite sure where you start your search for the best device to fit your requirements, take a look at the Digital Camera World article on the best dash cams of the year.
Are There Any Ways To Prepare Yourself For A Collision?
Collisions are impossible to predict. In some cases, an accident is inevitable, and if all drivers knew precisely how to prepare themselves to avoid a collision, then none would take place. However, there are a few top tips to keep in mind that will help you to resolve a collision as quickly as possible and to minimise the likelihood of damage to both your vehicle and your health.
During every journey, regardless of how short the trip may be, always bring along your driving licence and ensure that a copy of your insurance information is kept in your vehicle. Many drivers opt for filling a folder with all vehicle-related details and storing it in their glove compartment; this will allow you to have all important paperwork on hand in the event of a collision.
As mentioned previously, a dash cam is one of the, if not the best way to resolve a collision and get the compensation you deserve. If you are confident in your driving skills and ability to remains safe behind the wheel, then a dash cam will most definitely work towards your advantage.
Resolve A Collision Safely and Quickly!
In some cases, you may fall victim to a scratch or dent on your vehicle that you do not know who the culprit was. Particularly when parked in busy public carparks, many drivers fall victim to small damages on their car that they have no one to claim against to fix them. If this is ever the case, then please feel free to contact Scuff n Scratch for car body repairs in Leighton Buzzard. On the other hand, in the unfortunate event that you are in the wrong for damage to another driver’s vehicle and would like to resolve the issue independently, then we can also provide insurance approved car repairs in Milton Keynes.
We hope that our article has helped you to feel a little more confident in your knowledge to deal with collision and has prepared you for trickier situations that may arise. If so, then why not share with your fellow drivers on social media?