It's a scary thought, and it's hopefully a situation you'll never be involved in. But have you ever wondered what you should do if your vehicle is involved in a traffic accident? Remembering to follow the best practices in such an event can help to get everything back on track afterwards.
First things first. Have you or anyone in your vehicle been injured? Call an ambulance if necessary, and remember that it's always better to be safe than sorry. If your vehicle (or another) has been damaged to the point where it's obstructing traffic, you should also call the police for assistance. If you can safely move your vehicle to the side of the road, then you should do so.
Assess your vehicle for damage. Even if you are still able to drive it, the damage might have rendered it to be non-roadworthy. This means that you won't be able to take the vehicle home or to a mechanic without the help of a towing company. If any towing companies happen to appear on the scene, you have a few options.
- They can tow the vehicle to their recommended repair centre.
- You can request that they tow the vehicle to your preferred mechanic. If they do not wish to do this, you can decline their services and contact another company.
- You can request that the vehicle be towed to your home for further assessment at a later stage.
If the vehicle is not obstructing traffic, it might be possible to leave it at the scene of the accident to be towed at a later stage. You should check with the police to ensure that you won't be penalised for doing this, and naturally this would not be permitted in a no-stopping zone. Please note that a towing company cannot remove your vehicle unless you have signed the relevant authority documents. The only exception to this is when police grant the necessary authority, which can happen if you are taken away for medical assistance and your vehicle is obstructing traffic.
The Other Party
If another vehicle was involved, you should speak with the driver. Exchange names, insurance details, and your vehicle registration numbers. If the other party is unwilling to give you any information (which might be the case if they're worried about being held liable for the accident), then at the very least you should make a note of their vehicle registration number. This should allow your insurance company (and if necessary, the authorities) to locate the driver at a later stage.
Hopefully you'll never be involved in a traffic accident. But if you are, it's important to know what to do so things can quickly be sorted out.