Being involved in a car accident is stressful. You may feel scattered, overwhelmed or you may even be injured and not thinking straight. That’s why it’s important to be prepared with the items you might need and be aware of some simple steps of what to do. You’ll be able to handle the situation as calmly as possible while keeping yourself safe.
Important items to keep in your vehicle
We’ve put together a handy checklist and form for you to print out and keep in your car. This document highlights the most important information to capture at the time of an accident. Keep this, along with something to write with like a pen or pencil, in an easy-to-find spot in your car like the glove compartment. Other essential items you should always keep on hand are an up-to-date insurance slip and vehicle registration. We recommend storing all three pieces together to make them easier to find when you need them.
Having a first-aid kit with basic supplies and a roadside emergency kit with pylons, reflectors and road flares is also a good idea.
After an accident
If you are involved in a car accident, the most important thing to do is stay calm. Check in with yourself and any others involved to see if there are any injuries. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately.
Once you have confirmed that everyone involved is alright, you can call the non-emergency number for the local police department to have an officer come to the scene. If it is safe to do so, try and remove your vehicle from the roadway as soon as possible. This will help keep you and your vehicle safe from other cars on the road and minimize further damage and disruption.
If your vehicle is still in drivable condition, you may want to go to a Collision Reporting Centre to have your vehicle inspected and give your statement. If you are unable to move your vehicle, you should turn on your hazard lights to alert others. Be aware that a tow truck may need to be called at your expense to move your car if it is undrivable.
Use your car accident checklist to record information regarding your accident:
- Take note of the date, time and location of the accident and a detailed description of what happened. Be as specific as possible.
- Ask for the driver’s license, vehicle ownership, registration, license plate, contact and insurance information of any other parties involved, and provide yours to them. It may be helpful to take photos of these items for your reference.
- If anyone is injured, you should also describe the injuries, no matter how minor.
- Obtain the names and contact information of anyone that may have witnessed the accident, as the police may need their statements as well.
- Take photos of the accident scene, including of any damage to your vehicle, another vehicle or any property. These photographs could become important evidence and may be requested by the police or your insurance company.
- Try to capture things like road conditions, weather and nearby stop signs or stop lights that may be contributing factors to the accident.
- Record the badge number and name of any police officers that you make a statement to. You should only make a statement to them, no one else.
Ensure that you do not admit or take any blame for the accident. Investigators and insurance adjusters are experts at determining fault in car accidents and often consider information that drivers are unaware of to come to their conclusion.
We are here to help. Call Cowan to let us know the details of your accident. Our dedicated Claims Department is here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we will work hard to get your claim handled as quickly as possible.