What to do if you have a crash

Every day, more and more people are passing their driving test and getting the keys to their very first car. This means that more cars will be on the road, making the roads at higher risk for accidents. Whether you’re involved in a crash or you witness one, there are many important things that you need to do to avoid breaking the law, and to also help out with any insurance claims that need to be made.

If you are involved in a road accident, even a minor one, you need to be responsible, keep calm and act quickly. First of all, you’ll need to warn the traffic around you, especially if you’re on a busy road. Put your hazard lights on and place a warning triangle in the road. If there are a few people at the scene, you could always ask one of them to go further back along the road and slow down the oncoming traffic. Ensure that all car engines are switched off, and do not smoke near the cars, as the fumes could cause a fire. Try to also keep everyone well away from the scene of the accident.

Most importantly, you’ll need to get help as quickly as possible by calling 999. You’ll need to provide them with details of:

– Your telephone number in case you get cut off
– The location of the accident. If you don’t know where this is, look around for road names, landmarks, or use a sat nav reference
– A description of what has happened. For example, whether the car has hit a tree, or if someone is seriously injured.

After this, you’ll need to assess all the casualties on the scene. If needed, you can use simple first aid to help anyone injured, but it is incredibly important that you don’t try to move them. If someone isn’t breathing, you’ll need to perform CPR by clearing the mouth, gently tilting the head back whilst holding their nose, and gently blow into their mouth at 5 second intervals. You can also stop any severe bleeding by applying firm pressure to the wound.

If you are involved in a minor incident, you’ll need to make sure you jot down a brief description of:

– What has happened
– Date and time
– Location
– Details of the vehicles (make, model, registration number, colour, estimated speed, direction and number of passengers)
– Contact details of the people that were involved (full name, mobile number, brief description of what they looked like)
– Details of witnesses
– It is also a good idea to take pictures of the damage to the cars.

Failure to stop at the scene of an accident, or report an accident, can put you at risk of committing two offences: failing to stop and failing to report. The maximum penalty for each of these offences is £5,000 and five to ten penalty points. Courts also have the power to disqualify you from driving for either offence, and are more likely to do so when both offences are committed in the same instance.