Safe Driver Series 2: If You Are In An Accident
Accidents can happen quickly, and it can be hard to remember everything you should do after one occurs. If you’re like most people, you studied it in driver’s education class in high school, then drove off with your freshly minted license and promptly forgot. To complicate matters, things have changed since the days when most of us took Drivers Ed. There are more cars on the road, traffic is heavier and there’s no telling how the other person involved in an accident may respond. So even if you always practice safe driving it never hurts to go over what to do after an accident, and how you can be prepared.
7 Things To Do:
- STAY AT THE SCENE: Leaving the scene of an accident can result in legal consequences, like fines or additional violations. If you are on a busy highway, stay inside the car and wait for the police or an ambulance to arrive.
- CHECK FOR INJURIES: Before you do anything else, make sure that you are okay and that your passengers are as well. Do your best to stay calm
- PROTECT THE ACCIDENT SCENE: Follow the law about moving your car – or not. If local or state laws require you move your car and you can do it safely, you should move it immediately, according to James Aubrey Solomon, a defensive driving expert at the National Safety Council. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s just good manners. It’s not polite to stay in someone’s way, even if that someone is another driver. If you can’t move your car, you should use your hazard lights to alert other drivers.
- CONTACT LAW ENFORCEMENT: You can help the 911 dispatcher by giving as much detail as possible. Be prepared to provide your exact location, including the highway mile marker or closest intersection. Let the dispatcher know about potential injuries, the number of cars involved and whether cars can get by on the roadway.
- RECORD & EXCHANGE INFORMATION: While you’re on site, write down the location of the accident and how it happened. Take pictures of the damage done to all of the vehicles involved. Ask any witnesses for their contact information in case the drivers disagree about the events. Drivers involved should provide each other with their:
- Phone Number
- Insurance Company Name
- Insurance Policy Number
- Name of the insured person and relationship to the driver
- Driver’s license state and number
- License plate number for the driver and owner of each vehicle
- Car year, make, model and color
Don’t get into an argument or a fight with the other driver. Resist the urge to apologize for the accident even if you think it might be your fault, or to keep it between you and the other parties. Law enforcement officers will determine the degree to which each driver may have contributed to the collision.
- PLACE AN ACCIDENT REPORT: Even if law enforcement officers don’t respond to the accident, which sometimes happens if there are no injuries, download an accident report form from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website, fill it out and submit it.
- NOTIFY YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER: Rather than relying upon the goodwill of the other drivers to ensure that damages are paid for, submit an insurance claim. Doing so can help you protect your finances in the long term and get your car fixed more quickly in the short term.
Stay tuned for part 3 of our SAFE DRIVER SERIES next month with steps to take if you are involved in a hit and run.
BE PREPARED: Keep important items in your car’s glove box such as paper and a pencil for taking notes, a card that lists local law enforcement agency contact numbers and your medical allergies or conditions that first responders should know about.
MAKE IT EASY: The Nationwide Mobile app is available for free from the iTunes or Google Play store. It can guide you through the steps to take after an accident, helps you notify law enforcement, find a Nationwide Blue RibbonSM Repair Facility and towing services, and start the claims process.
Make sure you’re adequately covered in the case of an accident. Call us a call at 401-846-9629 for a FREE Auto Policy Review; We’re Always Here to Help!
And remember SAFE DRIVERS are often eligible for premium discounts!
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