You never want to experience a car accident, but unfortunately it happens on a day to day basis. Knowing what to do at the scene of an accident can help make the process less stressful.
Immediately after the accident
- Stop the car as soon as possible – it’s an offence not to do so.
- Turn off the engine.
- Switch the hazard lights on.
- Check if you or your passengers have any injuries.
- If it’s a minor collision and there are no injuries, make a note of it just in case the other people later try to claim for an injury.
- If anyone is hurt or if the road is blocked call the police and an ambulance immediately.
- Try to remain calm – take a few deep breaths and try not to lose your temper.
- Don’t apologise or admit responsibility for the accident until you’re completely aware of what happened – this can protect you from liability if it wasn’t your fault.
When should I call the police?
Tell the police about the accident within 24 hours:
- If the other driver or drivers leave the scene without giving details.
- If you think the other driver has no insurance or is under the influence of drink or drugs.
- If you suspect that the other driver caused the collision deliberately.
Exchange motoring details
- Share your name and address with everyone involved if the accident caused damage or injury – the law says you must do this.
- Swap insurance information and details with the other driver(s).
- Take down details of any other passengers and witnesses to the accident.
- Try to find out if the other driver is the registered owner of the vehicle, if they are not, find out who the owner is and get that information too (for example it might be a company car).
- If a foreign lorry is involved, get the numbers on both the lorry and its trailer, sometimes they are different. It’s also a good idea to get the name of the company if its painted on the lorry.
What should I record at the accident scene?
Use your phone to take pictures of the scene, the positions of the cars involved, and damage to the cars.
- The make, model, colour, and number plate of the vehicles involved in the
- The time and date of the collision.
- The driving conditions, such as the weather, lighting, and road quality (for instance road markings, whether it’s wet, the type of road surface).
- What sort of damage was caused to the vehicles and where – e.g. offside of wing mirror and car door (nearside means left side – offside is the driver’s right side).
- Any injuries to drivers, passengers, or pedestrians.
- The names and contact details of any witnesses.
If you caused damage to private property or a parked car, you should leave your details in a note on the car. If a witness or CCTV camera saw you and noted your car number but you drove off, you could be in serious trouble.
Making a Claim and dealing with the aftermath of an accident.
CRASH Services can help you through this process and can arrange vehicle recovery, collision investigation, organise repairs, provide a replacement vehicle, liaise with insurance companies and offer legal and medical assistance.
There is no fee (it’s free) for the accident management service as all costs are recovered from insurers involved.