Getting in a car accident is everyone’s worst fear while out on the road. Unfortunately, it’s a situation that does occur and it’s always good to know what you should do if it does happen to you.
Always call the police if:
- Someone is hurt
- You think another driving might be guilty of a Criminal Code offence (eg. Drunk driving)
- There is significant property damage
Certain provinces might also have additional circumstances where the police need to be called so you’ll want to check with your provincial authorities about this.
- Make sure you’re safe
- Record what happened
- Exchange information
- Be careful what you say
- Contact your insurance company
- See a doctor
- Be prepared
If none of the above situations exist, then first and foremost you want to make sure you and your passengers are safe and out of harm’s way. If you can, move your vehicle to a safe place on the side of the road and away from traffic. If this isn’t possible, then it’s a good idea to put some kind of warning sign (cones, triangles, flares, or at a minimum, your four-way flashers) to let other drivers know where your car is. Once the accident happens, you are responsible for protecting your car from further loss or damage.
While your memory is still fresh, write down what happened to cause the accident. Make a rough sketch of the position of the car(s), take note of the date and time and describe the road conditions, weather or any other related factors that contributed to the crash. You might also want to carry a digital camera so you can take a picture of the scene if needed or you can also take pictures with your cellphone or smartphone.
If other parties were involved in the accident, get their information. You’ll need full names, addresses, phone numbers of the registered owners, driver’s license numbers and the license plate details as well as names of the insurance companies and brokers.
Don’t accept fault at the scene of the accident and don’t discuss possible causes with other people who are involved. Leave that to your insurance company to figure out – if you admit fault, this could prevent your insurer from acting in your best interest.
Before a car accident can occur, it’s important that you’re familiar with your policy and you know the procedures that your insurance company recommends after you’ve been in an accident. When an incident does occur, inform them about the accident as soon as possible and be honest and up front with them about what actually happened.
If you think you should see a doctor, it doesn’t hurt to check in to make sure you haven’t sustained any injuries. You may not have felt pain initially because of all that was going on at the time, but as soon as you detect it, get it looked at as soon as possible.
You should always carry proof of insurance with you, either in your glove box or wallet, as well as copies of your insurance policy, your agent’s contact information, a cellphone and charger emergency numbers and paper and a pen. You might also want to consider carrying the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Collision Report Form.
Being in a car accident is a scary situation but you can ease a little stress by knowing what to do in the event it does occur.