We talked about your teen learning to drive in a previous blog post. Now, let’s talk about what to do if either you or your teen is involved in an automobile accident. First, let’s be clear: We here at Fairfax Auto Repair hope you and your loved ones are never involved in an accident. Still, they do happen, so what should you do immediately following the incident? Here’s a guide.
Assess the Situation Quickly
The minute you’ve been in an accident, turn on your hazard lights right away and take a rapid assessment of a few things:
- Is anyone injured?
- Can you move your vehicle?
- Are any of the vehicles at risk of catching on fire?
The answers to these three questions will dictate your next moves, so quickly assess the situation.
Move Your Car
If you can move your vehicle out of traffic, do so. Leaving it in traffic increases the chance of other vehicles crashing into you. If you cannot move your vehicle, check around your car to determine if it’s safe to get out. Once it is, put flares or hazard triangles behind and around your vehicle. If you can move your vehicle, move it to safety and then place flares or hazard triangles around it.
Call for Help
If anyone is injured or any of the vehicles appear to be leaking gasoline or otherwise appear to be a hazard, call 9-1-1 immediately. If this was just a fender-bender and everyone is okay except for being a bit shaken up, call the police. You want the police there, no matter how minor the accident was. They not only take a report you’ll need for your insurance claim but also keep tempers calmed.
Get the Info You Need
With the help of the authorities, if necessary, gather the following information. Your insurance company will need it and so will you. Write down
- The names and contact information of everyone involved in the accident, including passengers.
- The license number and insurance information of all drivers involved.
- The makes, models, colors, types, and license plate numbers of all vehicles involved.
- The names and contact information for all witnesses to the accident.
- The exact location where the accident occurred.
- The names and badge numbers of the police officers who responded to the scene.
Write down notes about the accident, too, while they’re fresh in their mind. What caused the accident? How did you respond? How did the other driver respond?
Take Photos and Videos
Finally, document the scene visually, as well. Take high-quality photos and videos of each car, the damage to each car, and the scene itself. Your insurance company will need these photos and videos when you file the claim, which will be your next step.
Again, Fairfax Auto Repair hopes you are never in an accident. One way to avoid accidents is to keep your vehicle running at its best with preventative maintenance. Contact our Fairfax, VA, shop to set up an appointment.