What To Do If You Are Involved In a Car Crash...

 

STAYING SAFE AND SMART AT A CAR ACCIDENT

All too often police officers are dispatched to car accidents, and about 90% of the time, they observe that all too familiar look on peopleís faces. Itís the look of trauma, fear, confusion and helplessness. With that in mind, we would like to provide a refresher for what to do if you are involved in a car accident in the future. Feel free to use this article as a reference to keep in your car, and if you have children who drive, share this information with them.

First of all, if you are involved in an accident, remain calm. The situation is probably going to be nerve wracking enough without people losing their tempers. Yelling at the other person, or accusing the other driver of being at fault is only going to compound the problem.

Secondly, make sure you and your passengers are okay. If you have any doubt about possible injuries, the injured person should not be moved unless there is imminent fear of them being further injured by fire for example. Which brings our first reminder: Any motor vehicle accident with injuries must be reported to the police by law. This even includes a one car accident where just the driver himself is injured. Failing to do so, can bring criminal charges.

If you are not injured, and are able to exit your vehicle and speak with the other driver, make sure they are not injured, and assess the damage to the vehicles. Now for our second reminder: If there is a combined total of $1,000 or more in property damage, between motor vehicles or other property, a report must be filed with the police. If you were involved in a minor fender bender and you knew there is no possibility that there is $1,000 worth of damage between your car and the other car, you could exchange information and go on your way without required police involvement. If however, it is questionable how much damage there is it is advisable to call the police.

Now letís review the information you need to exchange with the other driver. You should provide each other with:

-License plate number.

-Name, date of birth, driverís license number, address and phone number.

-The vehicle ownerís name, address, and telephone number if different.

-The insurance company name, year, make, model, and description of damage to the vehicles.

-Any witnesses or passengerís names, addresses, and phone numbers.

-Name, address, phone number of any ownerís of property that was damaged. (Mailboxes, telephone poles, fences, lawns, rock walls etc.)

If the vehicles involved are okay to drive, there are no injuries or fatalities, and it is safe to do so, an attempt can be made to move the vehicles off to the side of the road or parking lot where it is safe. Otherwise leaving them in the roadway can cause another accident and other unsafe conditions.

What if the other driver leaves the scene? Take down the license plate number, description of the vehicle, description of the driver, and a direction of travel and call the police. Do not attempt to chase this person, force them off the road, or in any way detain them. Your safety is the most important thing! Road rage is a very serious concern for us, and we do not want to see you get hurt. If you get the information we provided for you to get, the police can track this person down for you and file the appropriate charges. Leaving the scene of a property damage, personal injury, or fatal accident are serious crimes in Ohio and are strictly enforced by police officials.

Once you have all the appropriate information, call your insurance company and tell them what happened. They can assist you in filling out your accident report. A word of caution: be sure to get the police departmentís name and the officerís name that is handling your accident if they are called. In the confusion of things, itís easy to overlook this. You will need this information for your personal records, as well as the accident report.

Last but certainly of no less importance, BE SAFE! Wear your seatbelt, observe the speed limit, and other traffic laws, and do not engage in foolish acts of road rage or any other hazardous driving. Driving is a privilege for us all, and to be safe we must drive responsibly.