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 yearly from road traffic accidents.
We have probably all witnessed or been involved in a 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.
1. Safety First
If you can still drive your vehicle after being involved in a minor crash, you should first consider the immediate safety of yourself and others.
Pull over and put your hazard lights on if you can’t drive your vehicle because of the damage. Once it is safe, exit the car and get off the road. If needed, assist the other driver and do the same.
2. Call For Help
If someone is injured or dangerous, immediately call 911 for medical and police assistance. If you need help getting your vehicle off the road, call a tow truck, as tow truck drivers are highly skilled in dealing with these types of emergencies.
3. Exchange Details
For minor incidents, exchange details with the driver of the other car. This information includes driver’s license numbers, insurance providers‘ details, drivers’ names, and additional critical information.
If the other party is unwilling to provide details, note their vehicle registration number and report it to the police.
4. Take Photographs
Quickly snap a few photos of all cars involved in the vehicle collision, including any license plate numbers and the vehicle damage. Take pictures of other extenuating circumstances like road hazards and conditions, broken traffic lights, signage, and other objects affected by the collision.
It is also worth photographing the busy 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.
5. Collect Witness Information
If any witnesses were on site when the accident occurred, they must 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 it. Talk to your insurer or the police directly.
How to Always Be Prepared for Car Accidents
Here are several precautions you can take to ensure that you’re ready if a car accident occurs:
- Always have a car emergency kit handy.
- Remember to keep your most vital documents in the glove compartment, including driver’s licenses, registrations, emergency contacts, and insurance documents.
- Install your insurance company’s app to keep track of your claims, get relevant information, and possibly even receive a damage estimate.
- Get an automobile phone charger, and make it a habit to plug it in while you drive. The ability to summon assistance anytime depends on the device never running out of juice.
- Keep snacks and warm clothing in the car. Position them in a way so that you won’t have to get out of the car to get them.
- Keep at least one bottle of water in your vehicle.
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, please try to 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.