What to Do: 5 Tips for Traffic Accidents



In 2008, the latest year for which full traffic accident statistics are available, there were nearly 6 million automobile accidents reported in the United States. Unfortunately, many of us experience a traffic accident at some point in our life, whether large or small.

You do have automobile insurance, don't you? If you are unlucky enough to be involved in a car accident, even if it is not your fault, the other driver, or even multiple drivers, any passengers you may have, as well as the police in most states, will all be interested in whether you are carrying insurance.

Presuming you have current auto insurance, here are five tips for dealing with a traffic accident:

  1. Be prepared. Do you have an insurance card and identification in your vehicle? Do you have any road flares for a night time accident? Do you have some paper and something to write with in your car? You should also consider carrying a disposable film camera, or an old digital camera and separate fresh batteries in your glove compartment in order to take pictures. Your cell phone may become lost or damaged in the accident.
  2. Be safe. Remain at the scene and stay calm.  If you can, get your vehicle safely over to the shoulder of the road. Immediately turn off your vehicle and take a moment to assess yourself. Are you injured? If so, try to determine the extent of your injuries. Are you angry? This may seem silly, but it’s vital to not get out of the car until you can talk politely with any other people involved in the accident. Do not admit fault for the accident even if you feel responsible for it.
  3. Exchange Information. Do this with every driver. Get their names, phone numbers, addresses, the names of their insurance companies, and their policy numbers. Take down the make, model and color of every vehicle involved. Get the license plate numbers. Take note of any passengers or witnesses present.
  4. Photograph. Take pictures and visually document all of the damage to both yourself and to your vehicle. If you can, photograph all of the other cars and people involved too.
  5. Report the accident. You or the other driver may want to involve your insurance companies, but most states require you to report any automobile accident that exceeds a few hundred dollars in damage. Reporting the accident will also help your insurance company in dealing with the aftermath of the accident.

Vehicle collisions are troublesome and can take a very large chunk out of your bank account if not properly prepared. Use these tips to help ensure that if you are involved in an accident, everything is well documented and safe.

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