What do you do at the scene of a crash?
For some people, getting into a collision is part of life. I don’t agree with that as there are many things we, as drivers, can do to prevent it. Having a properly tuned vehicle prepared to drive in poor weather with proper tires is part of it. Being mentally ready is another huge part of staying out of collisions. But, what happens IF you find yourself in a minor fender-bender? Do you know what to do?
These two drivers got into a slight fender-bender the morning after a light dusting of snow. There wasn’t any real damage to either vehicle, but they refused to move their vehicles out of the way. Someone had stopped to tell them they should move their vehicle, but they looked at him and continued talking in traffic about what happened. I too was concerned about where they had left their vehicle sitting. The lead vehicle was in the path of cross traffic in the morning rush hour, which is never a good time or place for a collision to happen.
Safety first is always a good plan. So, in most jurisdictions, you are allowed to move your vehicle out of the way to exchange information. This is especially true if the police won’t be called if it’s a minor collision. This way, you can exchange all information in a safe manner. Leaving your vehicle in the flow of traffic can cause multiple vehicle crashes, plus the fact that it’s a visual distraction for passing drivers. That’s never a good thing. There’s already enough distractions that drivers have to deal on a daily basis. Moving the vehicle to the side of the road, or better yet, into a parking lot will improve the safety of all parties. Don’t forget to turn on your hazard lights and use cones or flares to allow drivers to go around you safely if you can’t move your vehicle out of the way.
To ensure your insurance company gets everything they need, write down a few important details, such as time, date, location the collision occurred. Also include the speed and direction each vehicle was traveling in as well as the road conditions. Drawing a sketch will also help you down the road, so to speak. You’ll also need to get contact information from the other drivers such as driver’s license number, ownership info and insurance company information. Don’t forget their phone number too.
A few years ago, I came upon a crash beside the gas station I was using. When I went past the shrubs and signs to get a better view, both drivers were still standing in front of their vehicle discussing what to do next. I yelled across asking them to move their vehicles into the gas station so they can exchange information safely, but they too refused. Moments later, a driver came around the corner a little quickly and narrowly missed hitting them. They looked right back at my direction and got into their vehicles and parked in the gas station. The driver, whose vehicle was hit, was concerned the other driver was going to drive away. That’s why they wanted to exchange information immediately at the scene.
In Ontario for example, you only need to contact the Police if the combined damage to vehicle or property exceeds $2000. You’ll need to call the police if someone is hurt, you think the other driver may have done a Criminal Code offence; such as drinking and driving or if there is significant property damage. Since a lot of our jurisdictions have Collision Reporting Centres at police stations, most situations require the drivers of collisions to drive their vehicle to the reporting centre as opposed to having the police show up.
It’s never a good thing to be involved in a collision, but now you’ll know what to do to protect yourself if you are.
**Will you take the time to help someone else in a crash? Read this HERE