However careful we are most of us will experience some type of road traffic accident in our lifetime. Here is some guidance about what to do if this happens to you. The following checklist will help you to sort things out following the accident and minimise the stress that you suffer.
-You should always carry a copy of your insurance details and have your driving licence in your car, as the police will need to see them in the event of an accident.
-It is a criminal offence not to stop at the scene of an accident even if you think no harm has been caused to a person or vehicle. Check it is safe to stop and put on your hazard lights if you can. Stay close to your vehicle in a safe place while you talk with the other driver or wait for the police or ambulance to arrive.
-If you hit a dog or a livestock the law requires you to report this to the police. The same does not apply to cats or wild animals although it is humane to stop and check that the animal has been quickly killed and is not suffering. Moving the animal to the side of the road will prevent further accidents.
-Staying calm and not losing your temper is essential. Even if the other driver loses control remember to keep focused and not to admit any blame.
-You should call 999 (112 from a mobile) immediately if someone is hurt, the collision has blocked the road or if someone has left the scene without stopping. If no one is hurt the police may not attend but it is always a good idea to report the accident.
-Exchange full details with the other driver or drivers involved. Name, address, driving license number and insurance details are all essential information to collect.
-Note the registration numbers, make and models of all the other cars involved.
Make a note of any other details which may be important, e.g. the driver seems drunk or ill, there is bad weather conditions or anything else which may affect the position.
-Ensure you get the names and addresses of any witnesses. This is not always possible but if you see bystanders then ask if they saw what happened.
-Take pictures of the scene of the accident and draw a rough sketch of the position of the cars, skid marks, collision points and damage to vehicles. Note all street names and the direction of travel. This is essential information for any future claim that you make.
The police will take you through any other formalities but ensure that once you are home you notify your insurance company immediately as you may need to make a road traffic accident claim. They will make any claim that needs to be made against the other driver. If the accident is more serious and you are admitted to hospital, then you should ensure that your family does this for you so your insurance company is aware of the position.