A Guide To Car Accidents
Always Be Prepared
However minor, any type of car crash is likely to have a negative effect on everyone involved. Even lesser bumps can send you into a state of shock, and it’s to be expected if you find yourself in a situation you hadn’t anticipated. The most important thing after a minor car accident is how you react. Approaching the aftermath incorrectly could be dangerous and potentially even illegal. Chill has created a guide to how to act during and after an accident, to help you stay as safe as possible.
How To React After An Accident
This might seem like the most basic tip in how to respond to a car crash, but it’s likely to be the most important. Between the shock of the crash happening and the adrenaline of such a situation, it can be difficult to think properly.
As soon as a crash happens, it can be easy to forget what caused it and who or what was at fault, but by remaining calm and reacting in a practical manner, it should be easier to keep these details clear in your mind. It will also benefit anyone else involved in the crash, as they might be reacting erratically and a calm approach could help to put them at ease.
Check Everyone Involved
A crash can affect many people, and it’s best to check on everyone involved in a specific order to ensure the safety of yourself and those around you. Firstly, you need to check that you’ve not been injured, before moving on to check that everyone else in your vehicle is okay.
Once you’ve done this, check that anyone else involved is okay, whether it’s people in a vehicle you collided with or someone who was present during the crash.
Consider Safety Measures
It should go without saying that your handbrake should be applied and your engine turned off as soon as your car has stopped, but you may need to take additional safety measures to prevent any further damage.
If your car or any other car in the crash is obstructing the way or creating another hazard, you should look to move it to safety as soon as possible, as long as it’s in working condition. You can then put a reflective advance-warning triangle 45 metres behind it to alert oncoming vehicles.
Keep A Record Of The Details
We’ve established that remaining calm can help you to remember details of the crash, but if you’re able to make notes or even take pictures of the scene of the accident, this could be useful later on in the process of reporting the crash to the Gardaí or making a claim to your insurance company. Actively doing this could prevent any discrepancies in the accounts of other people involved in the crash later on.
How To Report A Car Accident
After a car crash, the emergency services should be informed, allowing for the Gardaí to write up an official report. They will decide whether or not they will attend the scene of the crash based on the severity of the accident, but if they aren’t present immediately after, you need to make sure they’re aware of it taking place.
In your report to the Gardaí, you will need to provide personal information including your name and address, where your car is kept, the car’s registration number and details of the motor insurance attached to the vehicle. You will also need to provide the date of your insurance policy’s expiration as proof that you currently have cover.
When To Report An Accident
As you might expect, it’s advisable to report a car accident as soon as you can. Not only does this show transparency to your car insurance company, but it speeds up the process of mending your car if it was damaged in the accident. Reporting it quickly will also help ensure that the details of the incident are fresh in the minds of those involved.
Don’t avoid filing a claim just because you think it will dramatically increase your premium. It probably will affect your insurance cost but it generally doesn’t increase by too much. The increase in your insurance will depend on the severity of the accident. The more expensive premiums will not last forever as usually the insurance company will gradually reduce the price every year providing you aren't involved in any more accidents.
Minor car accidents might not necessarily require immediate attention from the Gardaí, but this can’t be an excuse for not reporting your incident to them. There isn’t a strict time frame in terms of when you must alert the emergency services to your minor car accident, but it would be best to tell them no later than 24 hours after the crash took place.
How To Make An Accident Claim
If the accident involved another vehicle, you should exchange information with the other driver immediately. You’ll need to provide your name, address, phone number, vehicle registration number, insurance company and policy number. During this time, it’s advisable to avoid admitting fault to the driver of the other vehicle.
If you contact the Gardaí to report the incident, you will receive a recorded incident number. The decision to inform the Gardaí depends entirely on the circumstances of the crash, as it might not be necessary if no other vehicle is involved and your car is the only thing damaged by it. However, receiving your recorded incident number shows that you reported the crash to the Gardaí.
How you choose to claim on your insurance is determined by whether or not you are at fault. Two courses of action can be taken if the accident wasn’t your fault. These are to claim directly from the insurer of the other car if the accident was their doing, or to claim from your own comprehensive car insurance policy. In circumstances where the accident was your fault, you must advise your insurer as soon as possible, as they can look at how to cover any costs that are owed to third parties.
What To Do If You Come Across The Scene Of An Accident
Coming across the scene of a motor accident can be a distressing experience. By taking the right steps, you could help to save a life and prevent further injuries.
With thousands of minor and serious accidents happening every year in Ireland, you are bound to come across an accident at some stage. Knowing what to do can make all the difference.
The main advice shared by authorities is to remain calm when you come across a motor accident. Keep a cool head and assess the situation before doing anything.
There may be enough people managing the incident, and it is better to drive on safely in this scenario.
If you are one of the first people to arrive, look for a safe place to park and switch on your hazard warning lights and parking lights. Remember to switch off your engine and apply the handbrake.
A reflective advance-warning triangle can help to warn oncoming traffic about the incident and it is important to place this on the road - but never on a motorway.
You may come across motorists and passengers that are injured. It is really important not to move an injured person as this may not help their injuries. This also applies to motorcyclists, and only the emergency services should remove the helmet of a motorcyclist. However, it may be necessary to move a person if there is a risk of fire or of the vehicle turning over. Never attempt to lift a car off an injured person without help.
If it is safe to do so, turn off the ignition of the cars involved in the accident and pull up the handbrake.
Call 999 Or 112
Ask any other witnesses on the scene to call the emergency services as you look after the injured drivers and passengers. Call the emergency services by dialling 999 or 112. Remain calm and provide the operator with clear and concise information about the accident.
In 55% of all calls, your location will be pinpointed automatically via your smartphone and this information will be sent to the emergency operators. This can be useful in a situation where you may have come across an accident in a rural location. Google maps can also provide you with a good indicator of where you are. If you are unsure of your location, the emergency operator will work with you to identify your location.
Keep Injured Parties Warm And Safe
A great way to help an injured person is to keep them warm by placing coats or blankets around them. It is not recommended to give the injured person anything to eat or drink.
Ask any bystanders to warn oncoming traffic from both directions. This may be more dangerous at night time so it would be recommended for these people to wear reflective armbands or bright clothes. Don’t allow anyone to smoke close to the scene.
Stay At The Scene
It is important to stay at the scene until the emergency services arrive. You may also be asked for information from the Gardaí, and the information you provide may prove useful in the event of a car insurance claim.
Have The Right Insurance Cover
Make sure you have the right cover for you. Think about your needs and what you can afford. A lot of people opt for the cheapest insurance and just get third party. This means if your car is stolen, sets on fire or you get into a crash, your car is not covered and you will have to pay out, which could end up being much more than you can afford. Make sure you take everything into account when looking for cover. For more information about the different types of cover available, or to get a quote, give us a call on 01 4003400.