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What to do at the scene of a car accident

No one wants to be involved in a road accident - but unfortunately these things happen. We thought it would be helpful to give you some information about what to do at the scene of a accident.

If you've been involved in an accident and you're insured with us, you can find out how to make a car insurance claim.

Imagine you're driving around town and there's a fair bit of traffic on the roads. The lights up ahead change to red but you don't notice. The car in front brakes to stop for the lights and, although you weren't going fast, you end up having a collision. Here's what to do:

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  • Pull over if it's safe to do so, stop the car and go and speak to the other driver.
  • Please do not talk about who was to blame or admit liability. Instead exchange names, addresses, telephone and registration numbers with anyone who was involved.
  • Get the details of any pedestrians or witnesses.
  • Let the other person involved in the accident have the name of your car insurance company in case they need to make a claim for any damage to their vehicle that was caused by the crash.
  • Take a note of where and when the accident happened. Include details of weather and traffic conditions, as well as the speed limit and any other roadside warnings in the area.
  • Write down which vehicles were involved: jot down the make, model, registration, colour, condition, (take photos if possible) as well as estimated speed and number of passengers if relevant.
  • Lastly, write a description of any damage to vehicles or property that was caused by the accident.
  • When you get home, notify your car insurance company straight away so your claim can be quickly and efficiently processed.

If the emergency services need to be involved

This can be an upsetting and shocking experience but you'll need to think clearly and remember to do the following in the event of an emergency:

  • Call an ambulance if someone has been injured at the scene.
  • Call the police if you need them to attend the scene immediately - or report in person to a police station within 24 hours. If anyone was injured in the road traffic accident, you also need to present a copy of your car insurance certificate within seven days.
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What to do at the scene of a car accident if you weren't involved

If you witness a road traffic accident there may be a number of things that you can do to help.

  • First, turn on your hazard lights to warn the cars behind you to slow down. If it's safe to stop and get out of your vehicle, call the emergency services to give details of where the car accident is if anyone's been hurt. If you're on a motorway and it's safe to stop and get out of your car, call from the roadside phone or use your mobile, identifying your location from the hard shoulder markers.
  • Next, move anyone who's stood at the scene to a safe place. If they've been hurt but can move, is there anything you can do to help? Perhaps you're a trained first aider or have a kit in your own car.
  • Don't try and move injured people from their cars though - or remove a motorbiker's helmet unless you absolutely have to.
  • Stay on the scene until the emergency services arrive - and make sure you give your details to a police officer or, if there are no injuries involved give your details to someone involved in the accident in case they need to get in touch.

We hope our guide to what to do at the scene of a car accident has been helpful - although we sincerely hope you never have to use it.

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