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What To Do After a Car Accident

14 Oct 2009 at 22:22

Your simple guide to getting behind the wheel, from RAC - the organisation that understands cars

RAC, the driving people, have put together this step-by-step guide to what to do after an accident and how to stay safe on the road…

You need to know what to do if you have an accident. You want simple steps to deal with the situation and on how to stay safe.

What to do

  • Stop as soon as you can
    Always stop at the scene if you think your accident has caused:
    • injury to people or pets
    • damage to other vehicles
    • damage to roadside fixtures such as lampposts, fences and walls
  • When to call 999
    Which emergency service to ask for:
    • if anyone needs urgent medical attention – ask for an ambulance
    • if the road is blocked or damaged – ask for the police
    • if someone leaves the scene without leaving their details – ask for the police
  • Exchange details
    All drivers involved should swap names, addresses, telephone numbers, vehicle registration numbers and insurance company details and policy numbers. This will all help with any claims process.
  • Get witness details
    Take down the names, addresses and vehicle registrations of any witnesses who saw the incident.
  • Make a sketch or take a photo
    Draw or photograph the scene and remember to include as many details as you can. Note the road names, vehicle locations and any skid mark directions and collision points. Be careful of busy roads when you¿re making sketches or taking photos of the scene.
  • Make a note of any additional details
    Try to recall any extra information if you can – for example, if a driver was using a mobile phone.
  • Get advice if you need to make a claim
    Call RAC Accident Care on 0800 699 999 for advice on your claim. We can also arrange a replacement car and help with any potential legal issues. If you or your passengers were injured, we can also help with compensation claims.


Avoid it

As well as following the Highway Code and driving sensibly, consider these tips to avoid driving accidents:

  • Car maintenance tips
    Make sure that your car is well maintained, has enough fuel and oil and that your tyres are in good condition and the right pressure (including your spare).
  • Motorway driving tips
    • Take care when approaching intersections where traffic joins the motorway and when joining the motorway.
    • Follow motorway signals that warn drivers of dangers ahead including accidents and poor road or weather conditions.
  • Driving awareness tips
    • Keep your distance – at least a 2–second gap on dry roads and a 4–second gap on wet roads or in poor visibility.
    • Slow down in foggy conditions and use your lights. Keep a sensible distance. In very bad fog open your window slightly and turn off your radio so that you can hear other vehicles.
    • Take regular breaks at service areas, but never on the hard shoulder. If you feel sleepy, get off the motorway at the first opportunity.
    • Take extra care at road works and when approaching them. Reduce your speed and obey warning signs.
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