What to do if you’re involved in a car accident

Being involved in a car accident can be scary, especially if you’re not sure what to do next. Our guide talks through the steps to take, who to contact and what information to collect. And remember, you need to report any accidents you’re involved in, regardless of whose fault it was.

1. Stop as soon as possible

No matter how serious the crash, you’re required by law to stop at the scene, and may need to report it, according to section 170 of the Road Traffic Act. If your car isn’t too severely damaged, pull over to a safe space – ideally somewhere off the main road – turn your hazard lights on, and your engine off. If you’re on a motorway, try to pull into the hard shoulder or emergency refuge area, so that you’re away from the stream of traffic.

2. Get everyone to safety

Check all passengers for injuries and get everyone, who can be moved safely, out of the car – you should take extreme care as you leave, using the door furthest away from oncoming traffic. Once you’re out, wait well away from the road – ideally behind a crash barrier –and keep a close eye on small children. If you crash on the motorway, pets should be left in the car, unless it’s an emergency.

3. Stay calm and call for help

If anyone is injured make sure you call the emergency services as soon as it’s safe – if there’s an SOS phone, use this, as the emergency services will be able to see your exact location. If you’ve been in a minor collision, you should call your breakdown assistance to check that your car is still safe to drive.

4. Take down as much info as you can

By law, all drivers should swap name and address details - if the car you’re driving belongs to someone else, you’ll also need to include their details. It can also help to get the name of the other driver’s insurance company – this isn’t required but can help to speed up your claim - and take photos of the crash scene, including car registrations and the damage to each car.

5. Let the police know

Some accidents may need to be reported within 24 hours – if the police didn’t come to the scene, you can call 101 or go to a local police station to report the crash. In some instances, if you don’t report an accident you could get a fine, penalty points, or even be disqualified.

6. Call you insurer

Contact your insurance company as soon as you can – check your policy details as you may be required to contact them within a certain timeframe for your claim to be valid. If you need to make a claim, send in all the details you took down at the crash, and write down what happened while the memory is still fresh. Even if you don’t want to make a claim, you should always let your insurance company know about the accident.

7. Checklist

Keep a copy of this checklist in your car as a reminder if you are in a crash.

  • Name, address, contact details of driver (and car’s owner if different)
  • Vehicle Registration
  • Make, model and colour of the car
  • Photos of scene and damage
  • Insurance details
  • Contact details of witnesses.

None of us want to think about being in a crash but knowing these simple steps can make the process less stressful and help to get your claim resolved as quickly as possible. If you need to make a claim with Sheilas’ Wheels you can contact us here.