Nobody wants to be involved in an accident, but it could happen.
As an insurance company, we deal with the aftermath of accidents every day, so we can give you some tips on what you should do if it happens to you. Here are our top five:
However minor an accident is, you must stop. If you don’t, you’re committing an offence under the Road Traffic Act. Make sure you switch off your engine and turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers.
2. Exchange details with the other driver
Swap names and addresses with any other drivers involved in a collision. If it’s a minor accident – minor damage, no injuries, no animals involved, no offence committed – that’s all you need to do. If no other driver is involved, but you crash into, say, a parked car, you should leave your details on the windscreen.
3. Call the emergency services
If anyone has been injured, you should call an ambulance and the police as soon as possible. If there are no injuries but the accident is blocking the road, you should call the police.
If the police don’t come out to the scene of the accident, you should go to a police station to report the accident within 24 hours.
4. Note down the details of the accident
As soon as you can, write down a detailed description of what happened. Collect as much information as you can and, if possible, take photographs. Make a note of the:
- time and date
- weather conditions
- traffic conditions
- road markings, signs and signals
- vehicles involved (make, model, registration number, colour, condition, estimated speed, direction of travel, use of lights or indicators, the number of passengers)
- people involved (contact details of all drivers, passengers, pedestrians and witnesses involved; description/distinguishing features of the other driver(s); details of any police officers involved)
- any cameras – CCTV, dash cams, mobile phones, etc – which may have caught the incident on film.
5. Get in touch with your insurance company
Let your insurer know what’s happened as soon as you can. You should do this even if you don’t intend to claim or you think the other driver involved isn’t going to claim. You never know what’s going to happen and telling your insurer quickly will help if the accident does lead to a claim.
What to do if you come across an accident
If you see an accident happen or come upon the aftermath of an accident, you may want to help. This won’t always be practical.
For instance, if you’re on a motorway or a dual carriageway, don’t slow down unnecessarily as this could lead to another accident or a traffic jam that slows down the emergency response vehicles.
You should also only stop if it’s safe for you to do so.
Turn your hazard lights on and stay calm.
Check all the car engines are switched off and no-one is smoking.
Call the emergency services, giving your location and details of any injuries. On a motorway, you can use the emergency roadside phone or check your location using the hard shoulder markers.
Don’t use your mobile phone near flammable cargo.
Stay well away from accidents involving dangerous goods or chemicals.
Stay at the scene until the emergency services arrive.
Don’t move injured people from their vehicles unless there is a danger of fire or explosion.
Don’t remove a motorcyclist’s helmet unless it’s absolutely essential.
If you’d like to be able to help at the scene of an accident, you may want to think about training as a first aider. This could help saves lives both in a road traffic accident and in your everyday life.
It’s unlikely that you’ll come across or be involved in many accidents, but it pays to be prepared. Our top tips will help you, but try keeping a copy of the Highway Code handy too.
You can find out how safe a driver you are by downloading the Aviva Drive app.
Aviva Drive automatically records your car journeys through your GPS, monitoring your braking, accelerating and cornering skills as you drive. Once you’ve driven 200 miles, the app gives you a score out of 10, with the safest drivers scoring 7.1 or higher. We’ll use your score to calculate your personalised discount.
Safer drivers scoring 7.1 or higher could save an average of £150 on Aviva comprehensive car insurance, a discount we expect 44% of safer drivers to achieve.
This is based on policies bought direct from Aviva between 1 October 2014 and 30 September 2015. Discount is available on first car per policy and depends on score and price – minimum £200. Discount doesn’t apply to optional extras.