Let’s face it; no one wants to be in a car accident. Statistically, however, the odds are that at some point in your life you will be involved in a car accident. Because of that you should be prepared just in case an accident does occur, and you are involved. Below is a list of four things to remember if it happens to you.
If you are involved in a collision, check to make sure everyone in your vehicle is safe and no injuries have occurred. Turn on the hazard lights and if possible have all vehicles move over to a safe location on the shoulder of the road. This is especially important if the collision occurred in the middle of an intersection, as the goal is to prevent any future accidents and ensure the safety of those already involved. Needless to say, once safe on the shoulder turn off your vehicle. Remember that you should never open your door or step out of your vehicle until you know that it’s safe to do so. It is also worth noting that you should check if there is any leakage of oil, gasoline, or even hazardous material from any of the vehicles involved; especially if a large truck is involved. If you see an NFPA diamond on the vehicle or on any containers that may have spilled in the crash keep your distance and know how the diamond works. Be mindful of any live wires or sparks from power lines, or even the vehicles themselves. These can present a threat to you. Remember to always check on the injuries of everyone involved including yourself, your passengers, pedestrians, and those involved in other vehicles. The most important thing is to make sure everyone is okay and stays okay.
Check for Damages and Call the Police
Assess the situation and make note of any damages to property and all vehicles. From legalline.ca, “You are legally obligated to call the police when someone is injured or there is significant property damage, usually over $1,000 ($2,000 in Alberta) before you leave the scene of the accident. The police may require you to wait for them to arrive, or, in some major cities, they may instruct you to take your car to a designated collision reporting centre to file a report.” Remember, it is illegal to leave a scene after an accident. If you suspect the other driver was impaired, call the police at once.
Today in the smartphone era we all have a camera handy to use. In the event of an accident remember to use it. Be sure to inspect all vehicles involved and take pictures of all your findings. This should include pictures of all the cars involved, the license plates, the road(if possible) as well as any property damaged as a result of the accident. Both the police and your insurance company will thank you.
Get the Information
One of the most important steps you should know is to exchange information with all drivers involved in the accident. Make sure you obtain the names of all individual affected including passengers in each vehicle as well as pedestrians who may have been affected. It is also helpful to get the information of anyone who may have observed the accident but may not be directly involved. Among the information that you need to obtain from each one of the drivers, passengers, and pedestrians includes, but not limited to: name and insurance information of everyone especially the drivers; license plate numbers of all vehicles involved in the incident; and, the make and model of those vehicles. Also, make a note of the location of the accident. If the police did feel it was necessary to come out to the scene of the incident, be sure to obtain the police officers information as well.
Even the safest drivers will most likely be in an accident. Having said that, you should still be aware of the common dangerous driving behaviors so that you can avoid them. Even the most minor accident can have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences. Do everything you can to stay as safe as possible while on the roads and, if the worst does happen, please use these tips to stay safe.