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Traffic Safety Episode 5: What To Do In An Accident

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I went live on Facebook this morning to finish up the Traffic Safety series. On the live I discussed accidents and what you should know to be prepared if you are involved in one.

You can see a recording of the live here:

Maggie is driving home from work just like she does every day at this time.  It’s rush hour and she can’t wait to get home to serve the kids a pot roast that has been cooking in the crock pot since this morning.

As she waits in traffic for the light to turn green, she feels a sudden jolt.  Her head whips forward and she drops the f-bomb.  It takes her a second to realize what had just happened.  As she looks in her side-view mirror she notices the car behind her at her back bumper.

“I’ve just got hit…..now what do I do?”

Maggie’s accident didn’t cause any injuries.   Here are the steps you should follow to report the accident properly if this ever happens to you.

Minor Traffic Accident

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  1. First, you should make sure that everyone in your vehicle is ok and ask the people in the other vehicle(s) too.
  2. Determine the intersection or closes streets where you are located.  This is important information to provide to the dispatcher.  A description (color, make) of all the vehicles involved important and make it easier for the responding officer to locate you.
  3. Call the police.  Yes dialing 9-11 is a must. Never exchange information or be talked into doing a report at a later date.  From experience I have seen this happen and the other driver refuses to file a report later or provides you with false information.  Err on the side of caution and have the police respond.
  4. If the cars are driveable move off the roadway.  Don’t put you and your passengers in more danger.  The Officer who is responding is trained on determining who is at fault for the accident.  He does not need to see what position the cars are in to determine who is at fault.
  5. Write down the license plates of the other vehicles involved.
  6. Have your drivers license and insurance available to give to the Officer.
  7. Once the vehicles are off the roadway and the Officer has arrived, take pictures of your vehicle damage and the other vehicle damage with your cell phone.

Accidents With Injuries

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For an accident with injuries you would follow the steps above, however, don’t worry about moving the vehicle off the roadway. Stay with the injured person and keep them in the vehicle. If the injured person is you, stay in your vehicle and if you can stay calm.

Hit & Run Accident

If you are involved in an accident where the driver leaves the scene make sure you get the license plate before you call 9-11.  The more information you can provide to the Officer and call taker will help in catching the offender.

My best advice to you is to snap a picture of the plate and vehicle as well. A picture or description of the driver is necessary for prosecution to identify the offender.   I want you to know that leaving the scene of an accident is a misdemeanor offense in Illinois and most states.

When you are in an accident it is important to know what you need so you can be prepared. You can’t prepare for an accident, but you can prepare your response when it happens.  I hope this post will help you to make good choices if you happen to ever be involved in any of the accidents I mentioned above.

Have you ever been in an accident?  Would this information have helped you if you knew it at that time?

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