Getting in an accident can be a very scary thing, especially if it is your very first one. Even the most careful of drivers can’t always avoid the occasional fender bender. And even if you are a really good driver there’s no guarantee that all the other drivers on the road are just as careful as you are. Even in an accident when no one gets hurt it can still be nerve wracking and many people don’t know what the first step is for getting things cleared up and moving on.
Before we address exactly what to do when the accident occurs it is important to think about what we can do ahead of time to be prepared for an accident. One way to do this is to keep an emergency preparedness kit in the vehicle. Many people don’t do this because they assume they will never be in an accident since they are a good driver, but it can happen to anyone. In the accident preparedness kit drivers should be sure to have a disposable camera or other camera for taking pictures of the damage to turn in to the insurance company. They should also carry a pen and pad of paper to take notes such as taking down the other driver’s information. The other things that should be included in the preparedness kit would be vehicle information and medical information. You should always have your vehicle registration with you when you are driving your vehicle. Even if you are not going to be in an accident there is always the chance that you will be pulled over or that you will run through a license and registration check. The other important thing to have on hand is your vehicle insurance card. You will need the information on the card such as your insurance policy number when you talk to an officer or the other driver. Keeping a list of allergies and other pertinent medical information in the vehicle could also be very important. If you are in an accident and are injured, it could be very useful to the hospital staff to have this information without having to ask you for it or call around asking your family for the information.
Once you have actually been hit the first thing to do is to stay calm. Many people’s first reactions when they are involved in an accident is to panic. Sometimes you may not even realize that you’ve been hit right away. After you calm down you should signal to the other driver for both of you to move off the main road in order to allow traffic flow to continue as normal. If you cause a congestion of traffic, especially in an intersection, you could cause others who do not see you in time to have further accidents. If you or the other driver are injured and you believe it would be dangerous to move then don’t move! Hurting yourself further could result in more serious injuries. And if the vehicle is damaged so that it cannot be moved then be sure to put on your hazard lights and remain buckled inside the vehicle for your safety until help arrives. When you have determined that you either can or cannot move the vehicle or yourself, then call for help from the police and an ambulance if anyone is injured.
If there are no serious injuries and you can move your vehicle off the road then you should get out of your vehicle and speak with the other driver. It is important that you exchange information so that insurance companies can contact the other driver. You should do this while waiting for the police to arrive, although the police may have a form available for you that is specifically for exchanging information with the other driver. When you exchange information you’ll want to be sure that you include your names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, and license plate numbers. Also it is important to write down the name of the insured if it is different from the name of the driver. A written description of each vehicle may be necessary, including make, model, year, and VIN number. Be sure to write down the location of the vehicle and your statement on the chain of events.
The next step is to document the damage. This is where the disposable camera comes in handy. It is important to take pictures as well as a written description of the damage that has occurred so that you can file a claim with yours or the other insurance company. If there were any witnesses try to get them to give their information and a statement. Their testimony can help if the other driver disputes your version of events.
Be sure you file an accident report. It depends on your location as to whether or not a police officer will be dispatched to your accident. Many states and cities do not dispatch emergency services unless there are injuries involved in the accident. Even if no officer will be dispatched, you still need to file an accident report. You can do that as your local police station or at the DMV. The police report can help your insurance company to speed up the claims process.
Finally it is time to call the insurance companies and file your claim. Sometimes people may choose not to involve the insurance company and will choose to cover the cost of damages themselves, especially if the damages are minor. This is usually a bad idea however, because it can cause someone who was not at fault to have to pay out of pocket for damages. If the other party is liable their insurance company should reimburse you for any damages to your vehicle and any costs associated with the accident such as medical bills and rental vehicles. Always file your claim as soon as possible so that the claim is on record before you call for a tow or call for a rental vehicle. This way you will be able to know what your insurance company covers and what you should be reimbursed for if the accident was your fault or no fault.
Accidents can be really nerve wracking and tend to leave people a little shaken up. That’s why its always comforting to know that you have a safe and sturdy vehicle to keep you from being damaged as much as possible in the event of an accident. GMC and Buick vehicles were all designed with safety in mind, and are all well prepared to provide the driver and all the passengers the best possible outcome in the event of an accident. OnStar is also a great tool for those involved in an accident. It can help you if you are panicking after the accident occurs so that you can get the help you need when you may not have the wherewithal to call for help. If you would like more information on how we can help you find an excellent and safe vehicle, or repair a Buick or GMC vehicle that has been involved in an accident, please visit our contact us page or call 888-306-1908!