What to Do in a Car Accident

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Car accidents are commonplace, and, despite exercising best driving tactics and extreme care while on the road, they can happen to anyone. If the worst should happen and you find yourself involved in an accident, there are some things you should do immediately.

What Do You Do in a Minor Car Accident?

If you are involved in a minor car accident, the first thing you should do is try to remain calm. Put your hazard lights on immediately and move your vehicle to safety if possible. Do not drive away from the accident scene, but do pull over to the shoulder of the road if you can.

If you are able to move your head, look around you to check on the well-being of your passengers. As soon as you can, dial 911. Even bruising or dizziness should be checked by a medical professional. Be sure to also request that the police come to the accident scene.

Explain to the emergency operator what has occurred and what, if any injuries you or your passengers have. Do not attempt to move injured passengers.

If you are able to move, get out of the vehicle. Assess the damage that was done. If you have a cellphone or camera, photograph the damage. Try to get a visual from a variety of angles.

When the police arrive, describe what transpired in as much detail as possible. Try not to blame the other driver or accept any responsibility yourself. Instead, simply explain what happened. The police will compile a report that will be used to determine objectively what occurred to cause the accident.

What Details Need to be Exchanged in a Car Accident?

For your own records, take notes on accident details. You should document things like the names and contact information of drivers and passengers, contact information for any witnesses, the exact location and time of the accident, license plate numbers of involved vehicles, makes and models of involved vehicles, insurance information for involved drivers and the name and badge numbers of responding officers. This information can be important if you have to file an insurance claim.

After you have left the accident scene and received any necessary medical attention, contact your insurance company. They will guide you through the repair process for your vehicle.

Read More: What Is an Accident Report Form?

How Can You Tell Who is at Fault in a Car Accident?

In the vast majority of cases, a driver who hits another from behind is at fault. Similarly, a driver making a left-hand turn is typically considered at fault for any accident arising as a result of that turn. However, it is up to the responding police officers to determine fault based upon the specific facts at the accident scene and the accounts of the involved parties.

How Can You Prepare for an Accident?

No matter how cautious you are, accidents can happen to anyone. Being prepared can ease your mind and help you out should the worst occur. Keeping a basic first aid kit in your car is a good idea. Include a bottle of water, a blanket, bandages, gauze, an ice pack and disinfectant to prepare you for many scenarios, including an accident. You should also keep road flares, jumper cables and a tire jack in your vehicle at all times.

Be sure your cellphone is charged whenever you need to use your vehicle so that you are able to make emergency phone calls. Do not keep your device visible while you drive, but do keep it and important documents like your insurance card and identification nearby so they are easily accessed. Be sure that your medical insurance card and emergency contacts are also easy to locate. A little preparation now can make a big difference if you do find yourself in an accident.

Car accidents are never pleasant, but with a bit of preparation and the knowledge of how to react, your recovery and the repair of your vehicle should be on their way in no time.


  • If you are in an accident, remain calm and call for help. Then, collect as much information as possible from those involved, and about the accident itself. Document the scene with photographs if possible. Contact your insurance company right away.