No one wants to get into a car accident but there are times you just can’t avoid them. Hopefully, it’s just a minor “fender bender” but often its far more severe. And to make things worse, after a collision, you usually go into “fight or flight” mode, and clear thinking becomes difficult to do. Working with Bodwell Chrysler of Brunswick, a local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer in Brunswick, ME, we put together a list of things you should think about should you ever find yourself in an accident of any sort.
Leaving the scene of an accident is a stupid thing to do. In fact, it is illegal in the United States. This advice applies to minor accidents too. If you back into a parked car, or clip someone’s quarter panel, you may be tempted to conclude that “oh, that’s it’s nothing” and drive off. However, if someone sees you, or you are captured on a surveillance camera, you will likely get a surprise visit from local law enforcement and served with a nice court appearance date.
Neglect to call the police
Many people think that you call the police only if you are in a bad accident. That is definitely not the case. Regardless of how small the incident may be, the police should be notified. Why? Lets start with the fact that failing to report an car accident is an offense in most states. Second, you really want law enforcement to show up to collect data to file an official police report with. If the insurance companies involved try to settle claims without a police report, it’s can be a mess. The insurance adjusters will not know what really happened, and your view will likely differ from the other person. In many cases, you might find yourself blamed for an accident that wasn’t your fault at all.
Leave your car in the road
Unless your car is damaged badly, it is always best to pull off to the side of the road after an accident. Don’t worry about preserving the scene for the police when they arrive. It is far more important for you, and any other cars involved, to pull off the road where it is safe to exit your vehicle and wait for the police. (Note: If you want to document the accident, and it’s absolutely safe to do so, then take a few snaps with your cell phone and then move your car.)
Clean up after the accident
Some accidents are severe enough to make a big mess in the road. If that is the case, so be it and don’t be tempted to clean it up. Although it is a good intention, it is dangerous to do and unnecessary. Typically, the police, or more likely the highway department, will clean things up afterwards – that’s their job and they can do it safely.
Assume you are “OK”
Playing it cool and acting like nothing hurts when it actually does, is not a good idea. (Men take note – Its OK to admit it hurts.) Let the police know so it can become part of the police report. Yes, this might get you an ambulance ride to the local hospital, but that might be the smart thing to do. You want any potential injuries documented so that if you find out later on that you were sustained an injury, you have official documentation to prove it.
Ignore others involved
Our final tip pertaining to what not to do after an accident is mostly common courtesy. Once everyone in your car is safely over to the side of the road, go check in on the other driver and passengers. Not only may you find yourself relaying information to the police when they arrive, it isn’t a bad idea to meet the other parties. You may find yourself involved in the aftermath of the accident for quite a period of time so its not a bad idea to meet the others.