Getting into a car accident can be a terrifying experience, especially if you don’t know what to do. Here’s a quick primer on the steps you should take if you’re in a car accident.
Before the accident:
- Keep a set of orange cones, warning triangles, or road flares in your car to alert traffic.
- Make sure you have your insurance information and a pen and paper in your glove compartment at all times.
Immediately after the accident:
- Take a deep breath and stay calm.
- Check to see if anyone is injured. If so, or if you’re not sure, call an ambulance.
- If the accident is minor, move the damaged cars to a safe place on the side of the road.
- Turn on your hazard lights and use the orange cones, warning triangles, or road flares in your trunk to alert traffic.
- Call the police, even if the accident is minor.
- Notify your insurance agent. There should be a number you can call on your insurance card.
- Exchange contact information with the other driver, including your name, address, telephone number, email, driver’s license number, insurance company, and policy number.
- Use the pen and paper in your glove compartment to write down important information about the accident, like where and when it happened, a description of the other car, and a description of the other driver and any passengers.
- If you’re in a safe place, use the camera on your phone to take pictures of the damage.
- Gather witness information–including their name, address, and phone number–from anyone who may have observed the accident.
- Do not admit fault or assign blame, even if it is obvious who is at fault. That’s the job of the police and the insurance companies.