You are on your way home from work. It’s been a long day. You are mentally going over your to do list for the evening and noting that there is no way it is all getting done. The light ahead turns yellow, then red and you stop for the oncoming traffic to proceed. Then, from behind you, a car crashes into your rear bumper sending you into the intersection. Now what?
Each year, thousands of people are involved in traffic accidents. If you are one of these unfortunate people, will you know what to do in the aftermath of a collision? How you react can prevent further injuries, reduce costs and accelerate the clean-up and repair process.
The Consumer Protection Association of America has developed a list of suggestions to help drivers anticipate what they need to know about dealing with an accident.”These tips can make a big difference in everything from protecting yourself and your passengers to ensuring that you won’t be without a car while yours is in the shop,” said Dr. Ray Bruce, president of the association.
So, if you are involved in a traffic collision, try to remain calm, and follow these steps:
Action Plan to Deal with Accidents:
1. Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Glove Compartment. Drivers should carry a cell phone, as well as pen and paper for taking notes, a disposable camera (or a cell phone that takes pictures) to take photos of the vehicles at the scene, and a card with information about medical allergies or conditions that may require special attention if there are serious injuries. Also, keep a list of contact numbers for law enforcement agencies handy. Click here to go to our website for a FREE Accident Report Guide
2. Keep Safety First. Drivers involved in minor accidents with no serious injuries should move cars to the side of the road and out of the way of oncoming traffic. Leaving cars parked in the middle of the road or busy intersection can result in additional accidents and injuries. If a car cannot be moved, drivers and passengers should remain in the cars with seatbelts fastened for everyone’s safety until help arrives. Make sure to turn on hazard lights and set out cones, flares or warning triangles if possible.
3. Exchange Information. After the accident, exchange the following information: name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number and license plate number for the driver and the owner of each vehicle. If the driver’s name is different from the name of the insured, establish what the relationship is and take down the name and address for each individual. Also make a written description of each car, including year, make, model and color — and the exact location of the collision and how it happened. Finally, be polite but don’t tell the other drivers or the police that the accident was your fault, even if you think it was.
4. Photograph and Document the Accident. Use your camera to document the damage to all the vehicles. Keep in mind that you want your photos to show the overall context of the accident so that you can make your case to a claims adjuster. If there were witnesses, try to get their contact information; they may be able to help you if the other drivers dispute your version of what happened.
5. File An Accident Report. Although law enforcement officers in many locations may not respond to accidents unless there are injuries, drivers should file a state vehicle accident report, which is available at police stations and often on the Department of Motor Vehicles Web site as a downloadable file. A police report often helps insurance companies speed up the claims process.
6. Know What Your Insurance Covers. The whole insurance process will be easier following your accident if you know the details of your coverage. Ask us to review your coverages with you and be sure everything will be covered in the event of an accident. Don’t wait until it’s too late!
In the Aftermath of the Accident
One of the most common questions after an accident is, “Will this affect my insurance costs?”. If you have chosen to go with Allstate’s Your Choice Auto Platinum or Gold package, the answer is No, not at all. One of the greatest features of this policy is the Accident Forgiveness Feature. Call, email, or stop by our office for more information.
Unfortunately, the chances are high, that at some point you will be involved in a minor accident. Just keep your head and make safety your primary concern. You’ll have plenty of time to deal with the consequences later.
As always, if you are in an accident, you can call our office at (717) 764-2024 anytime. We are here to help you through the claim process and get you and your car back to normal as soon as possible. Put your car and its precious cargo “In Good Hands” at The Nicholas Agency.
*A portion of this article was taken from CNN’s website and written by Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor
The Nicholas Insurance Agency, led by Greg Nicholas, is a family owned business serving the York county, Pennsylvania region. In the insurance business since 1981, Greg Nicholas helps families, businesses and individuals understand the value of different insurance products and make wise decisions when selecting the best insurance products for their specific situations.
Offering exclusively Allstate insurance products, the Nicholas Agency provides auto, homeowners, rental and landlord insurance as well as life & disability, recreational vehicle, motorcycle and personal liability insurance.
For more information, visit our two York, PA locations at Westgate Plaza or York Marketplace, visit our website at nicholasins.com, or call us at (717) 764-2024.