Travel Safety: Car Accident
Getting in a car accident can be a stressful event, even if it’s just a minor fender bender. Always unexpected, it often comes at the worst times. While you can’t predict the future of car crashes, you can take steps to be prepared, and know what to do if one does happen.
It is important to be prepared in the event of an emergency. This means having the right knowledge, and the right tools. In your car you should have:
- A jack,
- A flashlight
- A coat
- Bottled water
- Jumper cables
- Candy bars
- A first aid kit
- A lug wrench
- A pair of gloves
While the tools and equipment are standard items that are commonly recommended to be kept in your car, the clothing and food will especially come in handy if there’s an emergency in the wintertime.
Aside from keeping the right equipment in your vehicle, the best way to be prepared for an accident is to practice safe, defensive driving techniques. This means always being aware of hazards on the road, and keeping alert and focused.
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Should a car accident happen, it’s important to take the right steps immediately afterward:
Check on the safety of the passengers
The first thing you should do is make sure that you, and the other passengers are not injured. If anyone is hurt, dial 911 immediately.
Call the police
If the crash is serious, you should call the police as soon as you have checked on the safety of the passengers. A general rule of thumb is that the police should be called to the scene of an accident if either: anyone is injured, or if the vehicles cannot be safely driven away from the accident.
Exchange insurance information
Make sure every party involved is given the correct information. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance companies, drivers license numbers, plate numbers, and the owner of each vehicle.
Inform your insurance company
Make sure to call your insurance company and inform them of the accident. It is important to be truthful when discussing the damage, if the company finds out you were dishonest, it could potentially mean you will not be covered for the damage.
Take pictures of the damage
Just as in the case of vehicle vandalism, it is crucial to keep record of the damage at the scene. They will become in handy down the road if one of the parties tries to contest the insurance coverage amount, or argues about the level of damage the vehicles sustained.
File a police report
Filing a police report, even if the damage is minor, is good practice simply because it allows a neutral third party to be involved in the claim process. Without a report, it can easily turn into one party’s word against the others, which is never an easy process.
Additionally, it is important to exercise caution when discussing the accident after the fact. It’s important that you keep the discussions of the accident between yourself, your insurance company, and if necessary, your lawyer.
When it comes to getting your vehicle repaired after an accident, your first priority should be safety. Always make sure you vehicle is inspected after an accident, as there could be damage that isn't visible on the surface. Reach out to your local service center to learn more about repairs following an accident.