While it’s impossible to predict when an auto accident will occur, knowing how to proceed will help keep your head on straight – especially when tension may be running high between you and the other driver.
- Move the cars off of the road. If this isn’t possible, remain in the car until an officer comes to take the report or until the conditions are safe for you to leave the vehicle.
- Call the police to report the accident. If there are no serious injuries, remember to use the non-emergency number for the police station. If your state does not require law enforcement to respond to minor accidents, then you will need to manually fill out the report yourself.
- Obtain details from the other driver. You should always take the time to record their name, insurance company, phone number, and the make and model of their vehicle – they will most likely ask you to do the same. Refrain from admitting the accident was your fault while you are exchanging information.
- Take pictures of the scene and damage. In addition to documenting the damage while on the scene so that you can present it to your insurance company as evidence, you should also make sure you snap a few pictures of the entire scenario. This is especially helpful in the event that you cannot find any witnesses to vouch for your side of the story.
- Call your insurance company to report a claim. Most insurance providers have a 24- to 48-hour window for you to report an accident – the sooner you make the call, the more smoothly things will go.
The most important thing you can do if you are in an accident is to remain calm; panicking won’t help, and you may forget to take important steps, like exchanging information, if you don’t retain self control.