While we all want to do our best to avoid getting into a motor vehicle crash, we also want to make sure we’re prepared, in case one does occur. As with any type of disaster, we can take steps ahead of time to avoid the added burden of panic that comes when we have no clue what to do. It may help to review each of these five using one of your five fingers.
Step 1: Check for Injuries
Of course, you’ll want to start with yourself, being careful not to move until you’re sure you’re not seriously injured. If you are, call 911 or ask someone else in your vehicle or on the scene to do so. If you’re not seriously injured, you’ll then want to check on any passengers and call for help, if needed. Then, make sure your vehicle isn’t causing a hazard for other vehicles; if it is, and it is safe to drive, pull it off to the side of the road. If you cannot move it, turn off the engine, turn on your hazard lights, and prioritize getting yourself and your passengers to safety. If you have road flares, activate them to help other vehicles avoid hitting yours as you wait for help.
Step 2: Exchange Info
Going with our theme of five, there are five basic pieces of information you’ll want to exchange with any other drivers involved in the accident:
2. Contact info. (address, phone number, e-mail)
3. Insurance Information
4. Make & Model
5. License Number
If there are any witnesses, you may want to request their contact information as well.
Step 3: File a Report
If all vehicles involved are drivable, you may opt to meet at the police department to file a report, but otherwise you will want to call the police and wait for them to arrive on the scene. (In some areas, this is legally required, but either way, it’s always a good idea. In Pennsylvania & Maryland it’s best to report all vehicle accidents to the local police department.) Make sure to either obtain a copy of the police accident report (typically a small fee will be charged) or at least ask for the report number.
Step 4: Take Photos
Before you leave the scene, it’s important for you to document the accident visually with either a traditional camera or a smartphone camera. Be sure to capture all vehicles involved, the damaged areas of each vehicle, and license plates. Back up and take some distance shots of the vehicle(s) with the surrounding road(s).
Step 5: Notify Your Insurer
If possible, it’s best to call your insurance agent before leaving the scene of the accident, so you can make sure to get any information needed in order for them to begin processing your claim.
An accident can leave even the most seasoned driver frazzled, but following these steps may help protect you against unnecessary worries and will give your insurance company enough detailed information to begin processing your claim as smoothly and as quickly as possible.
If you want to keep this information handy, feel free to print the infographic below and place it in your glove compartment, or simply save it to your phone.
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 or call us at (717) 764-2024.
Image credits: Top © Monkey Business/Fotolia; 2nd © ValŽrie Koch/Fotolia; 3rd © Marco Müller Marcografie/Fotolia; 4th © Monkey Business/Fotolia; Infographic © Allstate.