Even the most careful and safest driver gets into an accident. It’s unfortunate, but you may find yourself involved in a minor collision along the road.
Whether it’s your fault or not, don’t cave into the high-tension environment. Instead, keep calm, and think of the best way to react to this type of situations. This piece of advice plus other tips can help you resolve your predicament without incurring further damage.
Minor vehicle accidents are common and can happen to anyone, including you. These fender benders don’t generally involve injuries or fatalities. But when two motor vehicles collide, they can result in damage in the form of dents, scrapes, and scratches on your car.
Like bumpers, fenders protect your car’s main body by absorbing the impact during a collision. They come with popular, albeit supplemental, accessories like fender flares for your Dodge Ram 1500, trucks, and off-road vehicles. These fender flares reinforce the protection of your car from mud, sand, and stone.
Back to your situation. How do you deal with accidents?
Move your car out of the traffic and to the side or shoulder for everyone’s safety. Turn off your engine, and switch on your hazard lights. If you can, find cones or anything that warns other drivers. If moving your vehicle is not an option, remain buckled up inside and wait for help.
2. Stay Calm and Reasonable
It’s hard to keep your frustration at bay when your car got rear-ended and you have other important things to do. Keep calm.
It’s cliché, but butting heads with the other driver or passengers will not resolve anything. Your anger can cloud your judgment and compel you to do or say things that you may regret. Pending the widespread adoption of a road-rage technology, take a deep breath. Get off your vehicle, and deal with the other party as reasonably as you can.
3. Make Sure Everyone Is Okay
Although the most common road accidents don’t involve physical injuries, err on the side of caution. Check yourself, your passenger(s), the other driver and his or her passengers, and pedestrians, if any.
Never delay postcrash care of the affected person because it can increase an injury’s severity. Do note that you can’t move a severely injured person unless you are a trained first responder. Call an ambulance right away.
4. Call the Police
If you reasonably think that the other driver is acting weird, driving under the influence, or deliberately caused the accident, contact the police right away. His or her fleeing the scene is a red flag and cause for police intervention.
Edmunds notes that, while law enforcement doesn’t generally respond to incidents that don’t involve injuries or fatalities, your state may require you to file a police report.
Insurers look into vehicle accident reports in investigating and approving claims. When you file a claim with your car insurer, you will need to attach this report. Consult with your local traffic rules for certainty on whether you can skip the filing of an accident report or not as some can levy fines or penalties.
5. Document, Document, Document
In any accident, fender bender or something major, documentation is crucial. You can start with the pertinent details of the other car. Make sure you have its model and make, color, and license plate.
Get the names and contact information of all parties in the accident. If it involves a parked car or house, leave your details to the owner.
Provide a mental picture of the incident by taking down the date and time of the collision and the road conditions at that time. More importantly, note down the details about the damage on your car.
Document the existence or lack of injuries. This detail will help you in rebutting false or scam personal injury claims. Always take pictures of the damage and everything else as part of the documentation.
6. Swap Information
Since you have the other party’s and witnesses’ personal information, you can share yours as well. You may also exchange insurance information with the other driver or whoever owns the vehicle.
There’s a bit of a debate on whether you should or shouldn’t do this exchange as it may be misconstrued as a settlement between the parties. At this point, you don’t have to say anything to the driver or the police, let alone admit responsibility.
7. File a Claim
Give your car insurer a heads-up about the collision to confirm your coverage and ask guidance on the claim submission. The other party may file a claim against your insurance.
Some don’t involve their insurers, and work out a settlement among themselves instead. You can go this route and defer filing a claim to avoid any potential increase of premiums. Whatever your decision, always keep your documentation ready for any contingency.
Sometimes, you have no control over accidents, but you can keep your temper in check to make the all-important decisions.