What To Do After a Car Accident

Don't let that streak of bad luck get any worse!

Finding yourself in a car accident is nothing short of a palpably traumatic experience. While the worst may be behind you, not knowing what next to do if you have a car crash will only make things go from bad to worse. Here, we will take you through three simple steps after a car crash and clear up the confusion around some commonly asked questions.

STEP 1 – Pull Over Safely

Whether you have had a minor fender bender or a dangerous collision, you will need to turn on your hazard lights and pull over to a safe location such as the side of the road or a car park. This is to prevent additional crashes if your car is in the flow of traffic. If you or the car is incapable of moving, you must turn off your car and inform the police that your car is blocking the road.

If you crash on a motorway, pull over onto the hard shoulder as far left as possible to avoid traffic. Motorways have emergency telephones at intervals, so if you have no signal, you can use one of them instead. Make sure to exit your car through the left doors so that you are far away from the road as possible! Check out more motorway driving tips here.

STEP 2 – Check Yourself and Your Passengers

In an emergency, such as an injury, you must contact the police. If you suspect the other driver in the accident is under the influence of a substance, such as being tipsy, it’s best that you let the police handle it. If there are any serious injuries, ask for an ambulance as well as the police.

Keeping animals within the car is important if it is safe for them and you. You don’t want to let your dog out on the road if you can help it! Speaking of animals, you must also call the police if you hit one or if it caused the accident.

When should you not call the police in an accident? If it is a minor fender bender and no injuries were sustained, then the matter can be solved through your insurance company. Need more clarity on car insurance? Check out our blog post on car insurance groups here!

STEP 3 – Take Details and Make Calls

What details to take in a car accident?

Being in an accident can make you panic, but it is important to stay objective and stoic afterwards. You shouldn’t apologise or admit fault to the other driver or bystanders, even if it is intended to relieve the pressure of the situation. Blame should be left to the insurers. Even if you say ‘Sorry’ you may still be liable as it can be held against you if you make a claim.

You should be prepared to know what to do if you cause a car accident or are the victim of one by knowing what details to take. In essence, it should be as much as possible in detail, like -

  • The date and time, as well as the road conditions
  • Saving any dashcam recording and photos of the accident you may have.
  • The damage to your car and the other driver’s car
  • The make and model of your and the driver’s car
  • Any injuries sustained.
  • The contact information of drivers, witnesses, and insurance providers

You should phone your insurance company as soon as possible and provide them with all the details you gathered. Even if you don’t want to make a claim, you should still contact your insurer in case the other driver makes a claim without you knowing.

Common Questions

What do I do if I hit a stationary vehicle?

If you crash into or clip a stationary vehicle, you should leave your details in a note on their windscreen and notify your insurance provider.

How long do I have to report a car accident?

You should tell your insurance provider as soon as you can after your accident. Typically, you have 24 hours to report an accident to the insurance provider and police. If you haven’t already, you should note down the details of your insurance provider to see how you are covered and what time limits they have in place.

What happens if someone hits my car and drives off?

This criminal offence is usually called a ‘hit and run’. You should report this kind of incident to your insurance provider and the police by stating their number plate and car details. If their car can’t be found, you can contact the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) which may be able to still help you with compensation.