There are still a good few weeks of summer left in the year. For many of us this means that we’ll spend weekends in the country, Saturdays at theme parks and lazy Sundays visiting out of state relatives. All that makes for a whole lot of time on the road. Most drivers worth their salt know the importance of staying alert and aware on the road.
They’re sure to stay hydrated and to avoid too much coffee as excessive amounts can not only make you jumpy and erratic but even make you drowsier in the long term. They know to stay well fed and to take rest stops. Yet, as diligently as we may try to monitor our own behavior on the road, there’s one thing we can never account for… Other drivers.
If you’re involved in a collision on the road, despite all of your best efforts, it behoves you to be prepared and follow the correct procedure…
Stop, breathe and take a second
A collision is an extremely traumatic experience and your whether the incident was your fault or not, your every instinct may be screaming at you to escape the situation. Nonetheless, stopping is your legal responsibility, but we also recommend taking some deep breaths and trying to take stock. The other driver is likely to be extremely rattled to, especially if they are at fault. Try and remain calm and control your anger. This was not a deliberate act of vandalism but an unfortunate accident.
Make sure you and your passengers are unharmed. Do not approach the driver until you feel that you can do so in a calm and rational manner. The last thing either of you need is for this situation to escalate.
Know who to call
It’s your legal duty to inform the police of the collision within 24 hours and you should call them immediately if the other driver hits and runs or behaves aggressively towards you so you feel that the situation may need mediation. If your vehicle doesn’t already have a dash cam then we recommend installing one as soon as possible as it will be your best weapon in protecting you from blame. Of course, if you, or any of your passengers are injured, you must call an ambulance immediately.
At a later point you may want to involve a lawyer who provides legal counsel for auto accidents like Hupy and Abraham Law Firm. They will be able to ensure that you are adequately compensated if the collision is not your fault, and any dash cam footage you can provide will be vital to your case.
Collect the right information
It’s your duty to provide your name and contact details to any other parties involved. It’s also pertinent to collect information from the other driver and any witnesses that you’ll need to aid your insurance (and / or legal) claim. While you should be polite to others involved, avoid making apologies or admissions of guilt at this point as it may later harm your claim. Collect the names, addresses and contact details of other drivers, passengers and any witnesses to the collision. Although this is the most difficult and stressful part of the ordeal, it’s also the most potentially important.
Try and collect:
● Registration numbers of all the vehicles involved.
● Makes, models and colors.
● A brief description of the road and driving conditions (e.g. weather).
● A list of damage sustained to all vehicles, drivers and injuries to passengers, including as many photos as you can take of damage to your vehicle and visible injuries sustained to yourself or your passengers.
And finally, starting your claim
Congratulations! You’ve navigated a traumatic and extremely stressful ordeal and your insurance company and legal counsel can now take the matter out of your hands.
They’ll have the information to process your claim quickly and effectively while you can get on with your life.