You’re driving the speed limit in the right lane with both hands on the steering wheel and the music at a reasonable volume. Slowly you approach an intersection with the intention of taking a left turn, and you’ve got the green arrow. As you make your turn, you see a car approaching to take a right turn, but they must be sto– WHAM. Your car jolts, you hear the screech of sliding tires, and after a moment of shock you realize you’ve just been hit.
It’s a topic that will make you want to “knock on wood”, and we’re knocking for you. The unfortunate truth is that accidents happen, and you’ve got to be ready if they do. Therefore, we at Autopark Chrysler Jeep have compiled a guide to help you best handle this situation if it ever does arise.
Priority number one: make sure no one involved in the accident needs medical attention – including yourself. If you are not injured, carefully exit your vehicle and see if anyone involved is hurt or unresponsive. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately and request an ambulance to your location. If you’re unsure whether someone needs medical attention, it can be hard to decide whether to request an ambulance or not. Use your best judgement, but we recommend you err on the side of caution. It’s always better to be safe than it is to be sorry.
This is more important than you may think. When emotions are high, it’s hard to keep the clear and level head you’ll need to follow the rest of this guide. So take a few deep breaths, and remember that staying calm is only going to help the situation. On the flip side, yelling at people, hyperventilating, and pointing fingers can further escalate the stressful situation. It’s ok to be upset that someone hit you, but don’t take it out on them. Save your frustrations for the pillow in the comfort of your own home.
Call the Police
Don’t let someone pull the wool over your eyes and offer you cash for repairs. Call the police – even if it’s just a small accident. Having the police come to the scene of a crash brings an air of stability to the situation, and an accident report will make filing an insurance claim much easier. When they arrive, tell them the facts, be polite, and give them all the information they ask for. But, do not admit blame.
Keep it to Yourself
Be honest about the events that led up to the accident, but do not clearly admit blame. Leave that up to your insurance agency, and save yourself the stress later if your claim is disputed. There are complications in any accident, therefore it’s best to leave it to the insurance agents to decide who is at fault. They’re good at it.
Trade information with the other driver(s). Get their full name, license plate number, insurance information, vehicle information, location of accident, and contact information. Remember to collect the contact information from any witnesses as well, and try to keep it all as organized as possible.
Document the Scene
Close out candy crush and use that smart phone for something useful! Take photos of the crash site, the damage to the cars or surrounding landscape, any skid marks, and information about the other car or driver (license plate, etc.). Send these photos to your insurance agent, and make note of any other factors that could have caused the accident.
Call your insurance Agent
If you know the accident was your fault, this may be a difficult call to make, but it’s important to convey the information you have to your insurance agent to have the matter handled efficiently. Your agent’s job is to make any car accident less stressful on you, so make the call and start getting the problem handled sooner rather than later.
Leaving the Scene
If you are able to move your car, it can be difficult to know when it is appropriate to do so. A good rule of thumb is to ask the officer on site whether you are clear to leave. But, don’t be in a rush – make sure you have all the information you will need for your insurance agent, and have shared that same information as well. If your car is immovable, the police may require you to tow it. Generally insurers will pay for your towing, and you can have it delivered to your home, to the towing storage facility, or to your dealership mechanic.
If an accident damages your car, bring it by the Autopark Chrysler Jeep Service Department where our trusted technicians will have you back on the road in no time. They know Jeep and Chryslers like no one else.
This simple guide will make handling any accident much easier. Despite the joy getting in a car wreck can be, we do hope this will never come in handy. From your friends at Autopark Chrysler Jeep, drive safe!