What to do if you are in a car crash

By Cameron Kirby, 30 Aug 2016 Car Advice

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Lady on phone after car accident

It is best to avoid them in the first place, but here is what to do when you find yourself involved in a shunt.

The plan is to never crash your car. However, sometimes accidents are simply unavoidable and no fault of your own. Or, less preferably, you will have a lapse in concentration and find yourself responsible for colliding with another vehicle. A car crash is an incredibly stressful situation, so here are the things to remember just in case.

  1. STOP!

It may seem like a redundant point. But pull over, stop your car, and put your indicator/hazard lights on (if possible). It is vital you make sure other drivers are able to see you clearly. Not so they can stop and gawk, but to ensure another more serious accident doesn’t happen while you are stranded on the side of the road.

It is during this step where you should check on the occupants of all the vehicles to ensure no one has been hurt. If there are any serious injuries call 000 immediately.

car involved in crash

Don’t move anyone who has been injured unless they are in immediate danger or need first aid to be administered. If you do move someone, support any broken limbs, and be careful not to twist either their back or neck.

If a motorcyclist has been involved and seriously injured, lift the visor but do not remove their helmet unless they have stopped breathing or are vomiting. If the helmet must be removed, do so with someone holding the motorcyclists head and neck, and another person gently lifting the helmet from the back.

  1. CALL THE POLICE

Okay, so you don’t always have to call the police. But you should call the boys in blue if someone is hurt or killed, or if the other driver fails to swap or exchange details. It is also imperative to call the police if the other driver appears drunk or high, or if there is significant damage to things other than the vehicles involved. You do not have to call the police if everyone exchanges details and no one is injured, although you should still report the crash later to local police and not 000.

lady phoning police

  1. SWAP DETAILS

Once all involved have been checked out for injuries, you the parties involved need to exchange details. It is important here to remember not to admit fault – this could have repercussions further down the line. All parties involved will need the date, time and locations of the crash, the other driver’s details (including full name and address), the rego, make, and model of the other vehicle, and the vehicle owners full name, address, and contact number (if the driver is not the owner).

Although not necessary, it is wise to also grab the name and contact details of a willing witness, the name, contact details and police station of an officer if they attend the scene of the crash, and the name of the vehicle owner’s insurance company, type of policy, and policy number.

Look, a car crash is stressful, and remembering all those things following the shock can be difficult. Keep a list of what you need to do in your glovebox – just in case!

motorists exchanging details

  1. ORGANISE TOWING

In some instances, your car can be driven away from a crash if very minor damage has occurred. More often than not you will have to have your car towed. Tow truck drivers may already be at the scene before they are called, but do not let them remove your vehicle without your permission. You have a right to decide who tows your vehicle, and where it goes. It is smart to have a repairer in mind that you can get your car towed to. Make sure to remove all your personal belongings from the vehicle before it is loaded onto the truck.

  1. CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY

After you have left the scene of the crash, call your insurance company as soon as its practical, and make a claim. This can often be done over the phone and without the hassle of paperwork. After that, keep track on the progress of your claim and repairs to make sure you are back on the road in a timely manner. If the other driver is uninsured or uncooperative, your insurance company will handle everything – one of the perks of paying those premiums!

That’s it. The five steps of dealing with a car crash. Remember to stay calm, ensure those with injuries are taken care of, and get all the details you can at the scene.

Now find out why you should take a defensive driving course.