I know I’m stating the obvious when I say car accidents are less than ideal. Regardless…
Even though there are safer cars, safer roadways and numerous awareness campaigns these days, chances are you’ve seen or experienced a car accident. So – they are less than ideal and they’ve become commonplace. Unfortunately, many of us still aren’t really sure how to react if we happen to get into an accident.
Luckily, there are some things you can do in preparation that can make a car accident little less irksome. First thing first, try to keep calm. This can be the most difficult task when your adrenaline is pumping and your heart racing, but losing your cool will only make a bad situation worse.
Always call the police if:
- Someone is hurt;
- You think any other driver may be guilty of a Criminal Code offence, like drunk driving; and/or;
- There is significant property damage.
If no one is hurt:
- If you can, move your vehicle to the shoulder or to a safe place that is not a high-traffic area. This makes the scene safer for you and any other victims if you are out of the direct flow of traffic – it also makes it easier for other vehicles to proceed. If the damage to the car or your injuries make moving the car impossible, turn on your hazard lights or use flares.
- Jot down details about the accident, including how it happened, the time, date and location, the speed of all cars and the road conditions.
- Write down the names and addresses of all drivers and passengers involved in the accident. Also note the licence plate number, make, model and year of each car involved.
- Take photographs of your damaged vehicle and the scene. Note the date and time that the images were taken. (if you don’t have a smartphone or camera in your car, a sketch of the accident scene noting the position and direction of the cars is also helpful).
After the accident:
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to let them know about the accident, even if you do not intend to make a claim. Check your insurance policy to see if you are entitled to a hire car if your car is damaged. You may be entitled to more help and assistance than you are aware of from your insurance company, so check the small print.
- Keep all records of correspondence that you have regarding your claim, including the date, name and title of the person that you talked to about the accident.
- Keep a record of any expenses that you incurred as a result of the accident. Depending on your policy, you may be entitled to reimbursement for those expenses.
We can’t stop the inevitable but we can do our best to react appropriately in those moments. Keep calm and carry on. As a helpful reminder in for these stressful situations, print off one of our Claim Cards (from our Resource Centre) and keep it in your vehicle at all times. Safe travels