A sad reality of driving is the risk of being involved in an accident and it pays to be prepared should the worst happen. Whether caused by you, or the carelessness of another driver, there are numerous things you need to do if you are involved in a car crash. Below you’ll discover everything you need to know about the proper channels to go through and what needs to be done.
Stop and call 999 if needed
It doesn’t matter how minor the accident might be, it is extremely important you stop at the scene. If you don’t, you’re actually breaking the law as stated in the Road Traffic Act. The engine should always be switched off and be sure to put your hazard lights on to warn oncoming traffic.
As recommended on the Which? website, you will need to contact the police if the accident is serious or if it has caused a blockage on the road. You should also see whether anybody has been injured and request an ambulance if necessary.
Collecting all necessary information
Whenever possible, you need to collect numerous pieces of information at the scene of the accident. As highlighted on the Auto Trader website, this includes:
- The time and date the accident occurred
- All contact details of the other driver as well as any pedestrians who were also involved
- Details of the vehicle including registration number, make, model and how many passengers were travelling
- The other driver’s insurance details
These are just some of the most important pieces of information you will need in order to pass them on to the police and your insurer.
Things you will need
There are various things you will need with you if you have an accident. This includes a certificate of insurance. If you haven’t got the certificate at the time of the accident, you will be required to take it to your local police station within 24 hours when you report the accident, or within 7 days after that. Keep your driver’s licence on you at all times.
Aside from legal requirements, carry a basic safety kit and keep a well-charged mobile phone on you so that you can contact the emergency services if required.
What happens if you don’t stop and produce insurance details?
Failure to comply with the advice above when you are involved in an accident puts you at risk of breaking two different offences. These include failure to report and failure to stop. Both offences carry a fine of up to £5,000. There is also a risk of getting disqualified depending upon the severity of the accident and the circumstances surrounding it.
Overall the last thing you want to think about when you’re celebrating passing your driving test is the risk of having an accident.
However, be honest with yourself. If you do suffer an accident consider what caused it. Were you unsure about a road sign or marking? If so, revisit the rules of the road – the resources are free after all – and make sure you learn from what can be a pretty harrowing experience. If it wasn’t your fault, don’t let it get to you – just redouble your efforts to be aware of the sorts of hazards you learned to spot when learning to drive.
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