Nobody wants to be involved in an accident, but it could happen. Insurance companies and law firms like 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:

1.    Stop

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

-          location

-          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.