What to do in a car accident! Help is at hand…
Keep safe with help from Logbook Loans…
We all hope it will never happen to us. But possibly it will. A car accident.
Over 300 car accidents occur every day in the UK, and sadly last year these accounted for 1870 deaths.
In this article we will look at what you can do to avoid a car accident and what to do if you are involved in one.
Three ways to avoid a car accident
The first key thing to do is always make sure that your car is in a roadworthy condition so that it is safe to drive. Check out our article How to keep your car in blooming good condition to see how to do this. It can be so easy to get out of the habit of regular car maintenance, but doing regular checks and top ups keeps your car in the best possible condition which in turn helps to keep you safe.
The second thing is to plan your journey and know where you are going. Whether you check maps before you go, get directions from someone reliable, or program a SatNav, you will be safer if you are confident about your route before you set off. You can then give 100% attention to your driving rather than trying to work out the route and spot turnings and landmarks as you go.
Thirdly, you need to ensure that when you are driving your car, you do everything possible to drive safely and not endanger either yourself or other drivers. There are five simple steps that we can all take to do this:
- Be considerate. This is the most important thing. Everyone is just trying to get to where they want to go, and we all need to be patient with each other. All drivers make mistakes (including you!) so be generous and courteous: and if others choose not to be then don’t let it get to you.
- Be aware. Keep your eye on other road users: check windows and mirrors regularly to know what is going on around you. Do not get distracted by passengers, music or hands-free calls in your car. And don’t try to text or check phone messages whilst driving.
- Be visible. Many new cars have sidelights on all the time and automatic headlight sensors for dusk or bad driving conditions. But if not, you can choose to put lights on when you think they are needed. If in doubt, on is safer than off. Having lights on makes your car visible more quickly to other road users.
- Stick to speed limits. Limits are there for a reason and it’s really important to stick to them. Not just to avoid getting caught by a speed camera, but to save lives. It can be easy to exceed speed limits without realising what you are doing, so keep an eye on your speed and stay within the limits.
- Keep your distance. Make sure you don’t drive too closely to other cars. Not only is this unsafe – particularly if the car in front of you has to brake suddenly – but it can be perceived as aggressive driving by the car in front of you, and could lead to road rage.
What to do if you are in a car accident
We have all driven past the scene of car accidents and seen groups of people standing around. But what do you actually have to do if you are involved in an accident?
Here is our 5 point checklist of what you should do:
- Stop the car
You are legally obliged to do this under the Road Traffic Act. So even if the accident is very minor, you must stop. Switch off the engine and turn on your hazard lights. Get everyone out of the car if it is safe to do so.
- Check everyone is ok
If there are any concerning injuries to anyone involved then call an ambulance. Also be aware that concussion can come on after the accident, so if anyone is dizzy or has a headache they need to be seen by a medic. If in doubt, call for help.
- Call the police
If the accident is serious, is blocking the road, or there is aggression from another driver then you need to call 999. If you don’t need this kind of emergency response, then call the police on 101 instead. But all car accidents do need to be reported to the police within 24 hours.
- Exchange details
You need to give your details to anyone else involved and also collect details from any other drivers, passengers or witnesses. You will need these for your insurance claim. As well as names and contact details, you should also exchange names of insurers, registration numbers, car information (eg make and model). Make sure you record the date, time and details of the accident and any relevant circumstances. Also take any relevant photos that help to show what happened and the damage caused.
- Contact your insurer
You need to tell your insurer about the car accident as soon as you can. Most insurers require you to do this within a certain period of time, so the sooner the better. You need to tell them even if you don’t intend to make a claim, as having an accident could affect your future insurance premium.
We hope that you never need the above information! But why not make a note of it – perhaps on your phone – so that in the unfortunate event of an accident you know exactly what to do. It would be one less thing to worry about at a difficult time.
Drive safely. And do check back here soon for more motoring, lifestyle and financial tips from Logbook Loans.