A vehicle accident puts a wrench in your day and adds stress to your life that many of us could simply do without. When accidents happen we're almost always caught off guard, which can lead to panic and irrational behaviour. Though it's difficult to keep a sound mind in an accident, there are a few steps you should follow to ensure that you, your passengers and your vehicle are all safe at the scene.
First and foremost, stay as calm as possible. This is difficult, but staying calm will help you better assess whether you, your passengers or anyone in the other vehicles involved in the crash have any injuries. In case of injury, even slight ones, it's important to call 911 immediately. Having an ambulance respond to the scene of an accident will help make sure that everyone walks away safe and sound.
Once you've ensured all of the people involved are safe, you must assess the damage. Make detailed notes about the state of the vehicles involved and take pictures if you have a camera or camera phone handy. Collect driver and vehicle information, including license plate numbers, driver's license information and exchange insurance information. Also, ask any witnesses to provide a detailed account of what they saw happen, record those notes and get their names and contact information.
If it's safe and possible to do so, remove your vehicle from the roadway. Park on the shoulder or in a parking lot if one is nearby. Call the police to report the collision, or check in at a Collision Reporting Centre if you are able to drive to one. Never sign anything, except at the request of the police. Then, have your car towed, if required, to the collision repair shop of your choice? If you don't have a regular shop that you use, do not feel pressured to have your vehicle towed to the shop of your tow truck driver's choice. You can always have your car taken to a holding yard/pound while you decide where you want to have it fixed and, once home, ensure you call your insurance company to begin the claim process.