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Domestic Disaster: What to do in a car accident?

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At Loans 2 Go we have a series of articles called Domestic Disasters. They explain what to do if some kind of disaster happens to you or your home. 

Previous Domestic Disasters articles have included:

In today’s article we look at what to do if you are involved in a car accident, and how to play your part in avoiding accidents in the first place.

Five things to do if you are in a car accident

Car accidents are something that none of us like to think about. Hopefully it will never happen to you. But it’s a good idea to make yourself familiar with what you would need to do if the worst should happen.

If you have an accident, there are five things that we recommend you do:

  • Stop the car

Stopping the car is a legal requirement under the Road Traffic Act, even if you think the accident is very minor. Pull over, switch off the engine and turn your hazard lights on. It is best to get everyone out of the car if it is safe to do so.

  • Check for injuries

You need to be sure that no-one has been injured in any way. If in any doubt, call an ambulance. Even if everyone seems ok at the time you need to be especially watchful for concussion, as this can come on a little while after the accident. Symptoms include dizziness, headaches, and not seeming quite “all there” to those around them. If in doubt, call for help.

  • Call the police 

All car accidents need to be reported to the police within 24 hours. This can be done using 101. But if the accident is serious or is causing obstruction, or if another driver is becoming aggressive, call 999 immediately. 

  • Exchange details

Make sure that you exchange relevant information with anyone else involved. You will need these for your insurance claim. You need names, contact details, names of insurers, and car information – make, model and registration number. Make a note of the date, time and details of the accident and also take any relevant photos that can help to show what happened and any damage caused. If there are witnesses to the accident, make sure you have their contact details too.

  • Contact your insurer

You need to inform your insurer about the car accident as soon as you can, and most insurers require you to do this within a certain period of time, usually 24 hours. You need to do this even if you don’t intend to make an insurance claim, as having a car accident could make a difference to your insurance premium.

Five ways to avoid a car accident

Of course, it is much better for everyone if you can avoid having a car accident in the first place. There will be times when everything is totally out of your control, but there are also several things that you can do to try and minimise the chances of you being involved in any kind of accident:

  • Make sure your car is roadworthy

It is your responsibility to keep your car in a roadworthy condition so that it is safe to drive. As well as its annual MOT and servicing as needed, you also need to perform regular car maintenance to keep your car in the best possible condition and help to keep you and others safe.

  • Know what you are doing

It is really important that as a driver you are completely familiar with all the workings of your car. Small distractions can lead to big consequences. So have a think right now. If there are aspects of your car’s operation that you don’t fully understand – perhaps the front and rear fog lamps, switching lights from automatic to manual setting, or using the ventilation system effectively to demist the windscreen quickly – spend time this week going through all those controls so that if you have to use them whilst on the move you are not fiddling around.

  • Know where you are going

It is also important that when you set off on a journey, particularly to somewhere unfamiliar, you know the route you are going to take. Try and find out as much about it in advance as you can. Even if you are using a Sat Nav it can sometimes be confusing about which turns or lanes to take, and you don’t want to lose concentration because of trying to work out where you are going.

  • Drive carefully

If we all did our best to drive carefully and show consideration to others, this could dramatically reduce the number of accidents on the UK’s roads. The three most common causes of road accidents in the UK are:

  • Failing to look properly before manoeuvring
  • Misjudging another car’s path or speed
  • Driving too fast or carelessly

When you are driving it is so important not to get distracted by anything else. Also be prepared to be the bigger person and not get angry or frustrated with other drivers. Be patient. We all make mistakes when driving – yes even you! – but far better to let things go rather than let them escalate into road rage and risk an accident.

  • Be aware of driving conditions

Check traffic reports before you set out on a long journey so that you don’t end up sitting for hours in a traffic jam that you could have avoided. Also be aware of changes to the weather and other driving conditions. There will be times when you need to drive more slowly and carefully, and times when you need to remember to put lights and fog lamps on to ensure that you are visible to other drivers. Always be aware of everything going on around you so that you can protect yourself and others.

We hope that this article helps you to understand what to do in the event of a car accident and, even better, to do everything in your power to avoid being involved in an accident.

Remember that if anything does go wrong and you need some financial assistance, for example an unsecured personal loan to help you get your car sorted after an accident, Loans 2 Go is here to help.

Check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Loans 2 Go.