Do you know what to do at the scene of a car crash? If you answered yes, great. But will you remember everything you need to do when shock takes over your body? Maybe.
I was involved in a pile-up as a passenger. It was a 3-car accident on the motorway at around 50MPH, but everyone walked away. Still, watching it happen in the blink of an eye and having no control is dreadful. The driver froze and was still processing what had happened. Thankfully, I stayed calm and could advise the driver what to do next.
In this post, I will explain what you should do after an accident to ensure you know your next moves, even if you’re alone. You will also get a printable 7-step checklist to keep in your car for quick reference if needed.
What are the chances of being in a car crash?
Over 150,000 people reported an injury from being involved in road traffic accidents in the U.K. last year, which means you are likely to have a car bump at some point. Whilst you can’t always prevent an accident, you can ensure you know how to handle the situation effectively. Here’s 7 major things to remember:
What to do in a car crash
Immediately after the crash, you need to stop the car. It is an offence to drive away. Turn the engine off (only if safe to do so) and put your hazard lights on. Call the police if the road is blocked or you are in a dangerous situation. If you are in immediate danger, and it’s safe to do so, move. Stay safe – that’s the priority.
Check for injuries
The next step in the event of a motor accident is to check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If anyone has an injury, then call an ambulance straight away.
Naturally, you will be in shock. You should take deep breaths and focus on the situation before saying anything. Never apologise or accept fault – that’s the insurance company’s job. Most importantly, do not get angry and escalate the situation.
You need to exchange insurance details with the other driver(s) involved, although some people hesitate to give details. By law, you need to share your full name and address. If they are not the owner of the car, then it’s best to get the owner’s details too. Exchange insurance details and a note of anyone else involved – passengers or witnesses.
In any car crash, it’s your word against theirs, so you want to be sure to document it as much as possible. Write details of the car make, model and colour, the weather, the date and time, and the road surface/conditions (wet, muddy, potholes).
Do you have a smartphone? Use it to take photos and videos of the damage. The most effective defence is dash cam footage showing what happened. A dash cam can record the incident, and then you can submit it as evidence. Having a dash cam fitted can reduce your insurance premiums too.
You have 24 hours to report a car crash to the police, but you should do it now before you forget amidst all the insurance calls and paperwork. If you do not report it, you risk points or other penalties.
Ironically, reporting your car crash to your insurance company is the last step. You’ve collected all the relevant details, so now is the time to pass them on. You should notify your insurance as soon as possible, even if you are not claiming. Doing so will cover you if the other driver(s) make a claim. Your provider will compile a case and contact the other driver’s insurance when necessary.
Car Crash Checklist
Now you know what to do if you’re in a car crash. There is a lot to remember here, so I’ve attached a checklist below this post. Please print this and keep it in your car or save it to your mobile device. I’ve made it orange so that it’s easy to find. Make sure your friends and family know what to do by sharing this simple, 7-step car crash checklist with them.