What to do after a car accident

Accidents happen. But knowing what to do if you are ever involved in a road accident can take away some of the stress. That’s why we’ve put together this six-step guide. 

1. Stop your car

It doesn’t matter how minor it is or who was at fault. You must always stop after an accident if there’s:

  • Damage to anyone’s car or property
  • Someone’s hurt

Failing to stop could lead to a fine, points on your licence or even a driving ban.

If your car’s driveable and it’s safe to do so, pull over to the side of the road. Then turn off your engine and switch on your hazard lights. 

2. Call for help if you need to

As soon as you’ve stopped, check to see if anyone’s hurt. 

Call 999 immediately if:

  • Someone’s in danger or seriously injured
  • The incident has blocked the road or caused a dangerous obstruction
  • You suspect a serious offence has been committed

3. Keep your cool

Accidents can trigger a lot of emotions. But even the best drivers make mistakes. So stay calm and don’t lose your temper with anyone at the scene.

It’s also important not to apologise or admit liability for the accident. After all, you might not have all the facts yet.

4. Swap details with anyone else involved

You’ll need to swap details with any other drivers involved in the incident. 

Make sure you get their:

  • Full name
  • Contact details (phone number and address)
  • Vehicle registration, make and model
  • Insurer’s name 

If the other driver refuses to give you their details – or they drive off without giving them to you – call the police on 101 while you’re still at the scene. 

5. Take notes and photos 

It’s a good idea to note down what exactly happened while it’s fresh in your mind. You never know what details might be important later on.  

At the very least, write down: 

  • The date, time and location of the accident 
  • The make, model, colour and registration number of each car involved
  • The driving conditions (what the weather, lighting and road was like)
  • The extent of the damage

Take as many photos or videos as you can to back up your notes. These may come in handy if someone disputes what happened later on or an insurer needs more evidence. 

6. Call your insurer 

It’s important to call your insurance provider as soon as possible after an accident – even if you don’t intend to make a claim. Most say you must do so within 48 hours. 

Your insurance provider will need:

  • Your policy number 
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