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 smallest car crash can be very distressing. However, it is important to keep a cool head in this situation.
The top 5 steps to remember if you are involved in a road traffic accident include:
If you are still able to drive your vehicle after being involved in a minor crash, the very 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 and stop. If you are unable to 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 required, assist the other driver to do the same.
If someone is injured or the situation is dangerous, immediately call for medical help and the police. Assist anyone who is injured. If you need help getting your vehicle off the road, call a tow truck. Tow trucks can usually be there very quickly and are highly skilled in dealing with these types of emergencies.
For minor incidents, exchange details with the other driver of the car. This might include giving each other the drivers’ license number, and details of the insurance provider. If the other party is unwilling to provide details, note down their vehicle registration number and follow it up with the police at a later date.
Quickly snap a few photos of all cars involved, including any license plate numbers and vehicle damage. If there are any extenuating circumstances, like a hazard on the road or broken traffic lights, take a photo of this as well. It is also worth photographing the intersection involved or any other identifying features on the road to show where it happened. This information might be useful later for insurance purposes. If you have a dash cam, save the footage.
It might be worth taking the details of any witnesses in case there are any problems which arise regarding culpability. 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 own insurer or the police directly instead.
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.