MOTORING NEWS - Here's a simple checklist from Suzuki to get you through any bumper-bashing or more serious problem on the road. It is relevant to any car accident, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time.
Before getting out of your car, check to see if your passengers are uninjured and reassure them.
Check your surroundings - you may be in the middle lane of the freeway and do not want to leap blindly into the traffic.
Before leaving the vehicle, switch on your hazard lights. If you have a cone or triangle, place them on the road so people avoid your car.
Call a loved one or friend and advise them what has happened and where you are. Reassure them that you are uninjured and say you will call back in 10 minutes should you need further assistance.
Call your insurance company so you can report the accident and be sure that you use the right towing company.
Switch the phone to video and if it is safe, get out of the vehicle. Record or take still images of the scene, ensuring you include the number plates of any other vehicle involved.
It is possible the other party or parties involved will be angry or aggressive. Try to remain as calm as possible and do not become involved in a shouting match.
Once you have checked there are no injuries to anybody involved, if it safe to do so, move the vehicles to the shoulder or off the road.
If anyone is injured, both an ambulance and the police need to be called and the vehicles may not be moved.
Take down the following information from all other drivers involved as well as from people who witnessed the accident:
Full names and surnames. If the person was driving a car on behalf of his or her company, then full details of the company must be included.
- ID numbers
- Home, cell and business phone numbers
- Physical addresses
- E-mail addresses
- Vehicle registration
- Description of the vehicles (make, model and colour)
- Names and contact details of the police officials, paramedics and tow truck drivers
- Your location: street name and suburb
- The time of the accident
- Road conditions and visibility.
After the accident:
- Call the police or report the accident at the nearest police station. It must be done within 24 hours if a person is killed or injured; or on the first working day after the accident if no one was killed or injured.
- Write down the name of the police officer spoken to and the accident report reference number.
- Draw a sketch plan of the scene of the accident and make sure it contains a fixed point so it can be easily traced.
- When making your statement to the police give only the essentials. Do not sign a written statement without first consulting your insurance company or an attorney.
Remember to take note of what happened immediately before and after the accident, for example was the other driver drunk, talking on his or her cellphone or driving too fast.
However, do not admit any form of liability or even discuss liability with anyone at the scene. Also, do not agree to settlement terms without discussing the matter with an attorney.
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