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What to do after a car crash
No one wants to think about having a crash on the road, but it’s important to know what to do in case it happens. Even the smallest accidents can cause drivers to become flustered, making it even harder to know what to do at the time to resolve the situation. Here are a few handy hints to prevent a bingle from turning into your worst day ever.
- You must stop
Legally, after a crash, you must stop and pull your car over. Even though you’re frazzled, make sure you find a safe place that enables you to get out of your car easily.
- Check everyone is OK
Forget the paperwork for now, make sure you check everyone in both cars is OK. Attend to cuts and gashes with first aid, and call Emergency Services straight away for anything more serious.
- Swap details
Even the tiniest accidents are stressful, but it’s important to stay calm to work towards a resolution. Getting cross and emotional will only make the situation harder for everyone involved, although it can be hard not to get a bit teary from the shock.
Take four deep breaths in your own car before stepping out and chatting with the driver from the other vehicle. You’ll need to get their:
- Name, address and phone number
- Car make and model
- License plate number
- Insurance details
- Take photos
Smart phones are super handy in this instance; just whip out your phone and take photos of any damage to your car, or the other car involved. This is really important for both insurance, and if any issues arise where a reasonable mechanism of collision needs to be rationalised in court. If there are other drivers around or pedestrians, ask them to be a witness and get their details.
- Contact your insurer
That’s why you pay those premiums remember? Let them know about the accident straight away, and they’ll walk you through the next steps.
- Don’t admit liability
It’s so tempting to say “I’m so sorry, that was my fault I wasn’t looking” if you pull out of a carpark and back into someone’s car door at a snail’s pace. No matter how innocent the crash may seem though, don’t admit responsibility. This sounds tough, but it’s important for insurance and legal proceedings.
- Don’t drive your car if you’re unsure if it’s road worthy
You’re not mechanic, and now is not the time attempt to drive your car if you think there may be significant damage you can’t see. Even if you’re not sure if the car is drive-able, call your roadside assistance provider and they can give you an idea of how the car is functioning.
- When to call the police
In Australia, police don’t need to be involved in every traffic collision, but certain situations require notifying police. Call 000 to speak to police if:
- Anyone is injured after the accident
- The other driver won’t provide their details or is intimidating you
- The other driver is intoxicated in any way
- Damage to property or pets has occurred and the owner isn’t around
Car crashes are an unpleasant reality on the road, but they don’t have to turn into a nightmare if you follow the steps above. While your heart is racing, take a few breaths to slow your adrenaline from taking over, and keep a clear, level head.
Article provided for Northern Beaches Mums by Sheen Group