Every single day there are major car accidents and small “fender-benders” occurring all around the world. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), between 20 to 50 million people suffer non-fatal injuries every year in road traffic accidents.
We have probably all witnessed or been involved in some sort of road traffic incident, and even the most minor car crash can be very distressing. However, it is essential to keep a cool head in this situation.
What follows are the top 5 things you should remember to do if you are involved in a minor road traffic accident.
If you can still drive your vehicle after being involved in a minor crash, the first thing you should do is to consider the immediate safety of yourself and others.
Quickly put on your hazard lights and pull your car off to the side of the road. If you cannot drive your vehicle due to damage, stop the car and put your hazard lights on. Once it is safe, exit the vehicle and get off the road. If needed, assist the other driver and do the same.
If someone is injured or the situation is dangerous, immediately call 911 for medical and police assistance. If you need help getting your vehicle off the road, call a tow truck, as they are highly skilled in dealing with these types of emergencies.
For minor incidents, exchange details with the driver of the other car. This information includes driver’s license numbers, details of insurance providers, names of the drivers, and other critical information.
If the other party is unwilling to provide details, note their vehicle registration number and report it to the police.
Quickly snap a few photos of all cars involved in the vehicle collision, including any license plate numbers and the vehicle damage. Take photos of other extenuating circumstances like road hazards and conditions, as well as broken traffic lights, signage, and other objects affected by the collision.
It is also worth photographing the involved intersection or any other location-identifying features on the road to show where the accident occurred. This information might be helpful later for insurance purposes. If you have a dashcam, save the footage.
If any witnesses were on site when the accident occurred, it’s essential to take their contact information and statement explaining what they saw leading up to the collision.
It is best not to discuss the incident with the other drivers as you may still be in shock and have not had time to process the incident. Talk to your insurer or the police directly.
Being involved in traffic incidents is a risk we all take as drivers on the road. Minor car accidents are unfortunately a common occurrence. If you are involved in one, above all, please try and stay calm and think clearly. Address immediate safety issues first and help those who are injured. Remember, help is always at hand.
Marian Sahakyan is a content writer and a journalism graduate from California State University, Long Beach with a background in marketing as well as UI and UX design. Marian’s previous writing and reporting has been featured in several community newspapers throughout Southern California.