It’s something we like to think will never happen to us but car accidents are an unfortunate possibility when you’re on the road. In case it does happen, there’s one important reminder you should always have on hand to help you deal with the situation.
Driving is a convenient mode of transport for Australians, however, navigating a two-tonne hunk of metal at high speeds comes with its dangers.
According to the government’s 2019 report, there were tragically 1,195 road crash deaths during that year — a 5.3 per cent increase from 2018. Accidents with major injuries also tally into the tens of thousands nationally, too.
While the statistics are particularly concerning, many more minor accidents happen on a daily basis, resulting in less severe injuries or shock.
So, what are you actually supposed to do when you’re in one? If you’re in a minor accident while driving or parking, it can be hard to remember all the steps, given the panic or shock many of us experience.
That’s why it’s so important to keep a piece of paper or a notebook with a simple checklist to follow. Keep it in your glovebox or centre compartment and let it sit there until you’re involved in a car accident.
What sort of information should it contain? Well, let’s help you out with that one.
What to do if you’re involved in a car accident
It gets a little tricky as each state varies a little on the rule but the general steps should include:
- Remove yourself and others in the vehicle from immediate danger. Switch on hazard lights to let other drivers know.
- Check others involved in the accident are not hurt. Remove them from immediate danger if safe to do so.
- Call 000 if anyone’s hurt.
- If the accident is major and a vehicle needs to be towed, call local police and organise a tow truck.
- Exchange important contact and insurance provider details. Write down anything relevant about the incident including street names, crossroads and time of day (it can help to draw a picture of the incident), as well as contact details of witnesses — it’s also best not to admit fault until each party’s insurers have assessed the claims.
- Lodge a claim with insurer once the immediate situation has been resolved.
Those steps can vary a little depending on your local authorities rules. For example, those in New South Wales only need police to attend if there’s serious injury or death, property damage, suspicion of a driver being inebriated or if one of those involved refuses to hand over details.