Collisions (what to do)
It’s not something we like to think about, but collisions happen – and it’s important that you know what to do if you’re involved in one. Here are the steps you should take to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.
Immediately after a collision
However minor you think the incident is, you must stop. In fact, failing to do so is an offence under the Road Traffic Act.
You should make sure your vehicle’s engine is switched off, and then turn your hazard lights on to alert other road users to your presence.
Take a look around. If anyone has been injured you should call the police (and an ambulance, if necessary) as soon as possible.
The police should also be called if the vehicles are blocking the road.
When you’re involved in a collision you’re obliged to give your name and address to anyone else involved.
Avoid saying sorry or accepting blame until you know precisely what happened, as it could count against you later.
You should stop and give your details if you crash into something on or near the road, even if there aren’t any other people involved. If you hit a parked car, for example, you should leave your details on the windscreen.
Collisions must be reported to the police within 24 hours. Failure to do so could result in a fine, penalty points or even disqualification.
Collect as many details as possible – you should try to obtain names, addresses and contact numbers from any drivers, riders, passengers and witnesses.
Ask the other driver/rider(s) involved for their insurance details and try to establish whether they are the registered keeper of their vehicle. If they aren’t, find out who is and make a note of their name and address.
Call 999 straight away if someone leaves the scene without giving their details.
Other information to collect
Here are some other important details you should try to collect at the scene:
• The registration numbers of all vehicles involved, plus a note of each vehicle’s colour, make and model.
• The time and date of the crash.
• A sketch showing the positions of vehicles involved.
• A description of the weather conditions, plus anything unusual you that notice about the road quality or lighting.
• The names of any witnesses or police officers at the scene.
• A list of damage to vehicles and a description of any injuries sustained by pedestrians, drivers and passengers.
You may find it useful to take photos for use as evidence later – most smartphones will take good enough photos for this purpose.
Making an insurance claim
Make sure you tell your insurer about the incident as soon as you can. Failure to do so within the time period set out in your policy could invalidate your cover, leaving you with a large bill to pay.
Always inform your insurance company about the incident – even if you won’t be making a claim.
You should give your insurance company as much detail as you can, as it will help them process your claim.
More advice and information
AA: What to do at the scene of an accident
Which?: What to do if you have a car accident