Although car accidents in the UK and Northern Ireland are a common occurrence, no one wants to be involved in one. Whether it’s your fault or someone else’s, accidents usually happen in the blink of an eye with little time to prepare. If, however, you’ve found yourself in this situation then it’s useful to know what you should or shouldn’t do.
While you can never be fully prepared, our informative guide to what to do in an accident will help you to deal in an emergency and look after yourself, your car, and anyone else involved.
What to Do Immediately After a Road Traffic Accident
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, these are the first things that you should do:
1. Stop the car as soon as possible – it’s an offence not to do so.
2. Switch your engine off.
3. Turn your hazard lights on.
4. Check yourself and passengers for personal injuries, including whiplash injuries.
5. Call 999 straightaway if anyone is hurt or the road is blocked.
6. If anyone is hurt, remain calm and stay still until the emergency services arrive.
7. If it’s a minor accident with no injuries, take a few breaths and assess the situation. Take notes in case the other party involved decides to later make a claim against you.
What Not to Do After a Traffic Accident
Now you know what to do, it’s also important to learn what you shouldn’t do if you find yourself involved in an accident:
- Don’t say sorry or admit responsibility, even if you think you’re at fault - this can protect you from liability if it wasn’t your fault.
- Don’t leave the scene. In accordance with the Road Traffic Act, fleeing after an accident is a criminal offence and can be classified as a “hit and run” which is punishable in court. It also makes you appear guilty even if you weren’t at fault.
- Don’t lose your temper and get angry with the other person involved. Even if the other driver is at fault, remaining calm is the best thing to do in this situation.
Accidents vary from a minor bump to a major incident, so there are a few other things you should know depending on the circumstances:
Do I have to report minor car accidents to the police in the UK and Northern Ireland?
if you’re not sure, you should call the police. They can assess the situation and give advice.
If it’s an emergency, you should call 999. If you think the situation is less urgent, call 101.
However, if any of the following happen, you must call the police:
- If the other drivers leave the scene without giving you their details
- If you suspect the other driver is under the influence of drink or drugs
- If you are concerned that the other driver does not have car insurance.
- If you suspect that the accident may have been caused deliberately by the other driver as part of a "crash for cash" scam.
Don’t forget you must call the police within 24 hours if you wish to report the incident.
What insurance details do I give in an accident?
- Your name and address if the accident caused damage or injury
- Exchange insurance information
- Take down details of all other passengers and witnesses
- Find out the registered owner of the car and ask for their information (this could be a leasing company)
If you’ve hit private property or a parked car, don’t leave the scene without leaving a note with your information so that the property owner can follow up. You should also take photos of the damage so that claims made can’t be exaggerated.
Read More: Your Insurance Docs. Explained.
What should I record from the scene?
- Make, model and registration number of all cars involved
- The date and time that the crash happened
- The driving conditions – was the road wet or icy? Was it well maintained?
- The type of damage caused to vehicles
- Injuries sustained to drivers, passengers, or pedestrians
These days, it’s easy and worthwhile to take photos of the scene and the cars involved, including damage caused. This can be really helpful if you’re making a claim.
How do I make a claim?
If you’re reporting an accident to your insurance company, call them as soon as possible. Ideally at the time of the accident.
Call your insurer as soon as possible. Ideally at the time of the accident.
They’ll ask for:
- Your policy number
- The registration numbers of the other people involved
- The driver’s details and their insurance details
You may not need to make a claim after a minor accident, but you should still tell your insurer about the incident. This offers you protection in case the other party may decide to claim at a later date without informing you.
Stroll customers can call us on 08000 11 32 42 or head to the car insurance claims section of our website for more info.