If you’ve ever been in any kind of auto accident you know how rattled even just a fender bender can leave you. If you haven’t had that experience, trust us, you might find it difficult to concentrate on even the simplest of tasks. Right now you’re thinking you know what information to get from the parties involved but, in the wake of a wreck many people are distracted, their attention scattered, and their memory all but gone.
So, in the interest of preparing for the worst while expecting the best we thought you might want a printable post-accident checklist to follow . The state of Oregon provides a good one at http://www.oregon.gov/odot/dmv/docs/accidentchecklist.pdf. You may also want to print out a blank diagram like the one below on which you can sketch the accident, or you can visit an interactive site like http://draw.accidentsketch.com/ that will allow you to recreate the accident on-line.
Otherwise, here are some other tips courtesy of www.911collision.com for handling yourself and the situation in the best possible manner:
1. Stop your car – whether the accident involves a pedestrian, a moving car, a parked car or someone’s property. If you drive away, you could be charged with “hit and run,” and the penalties are severe.
2. If you are blocking traffic in a dangerous place, pull off to the side of the road or into a well-lit parking lot.
3. Turn off your vehicle’s engine and either wait for assistance or, if it is safe, step out of your car.
4. Are you or your passengers injured? Check and seek medical assistance immediately if necessary. Use your cell phone to call 911 (Emergency) and ask for an ambulance if you believe you or your passengers need medical attention.
5. Be courteous and tactful to all parties.
6. If you suspect the other driver may be drunk, do not confront him or her. Tell the police and let them handle the situation.
7. Make sure your thoughts are clear before you make any statements to the police.
8. Avoid making statements about responsibility to the other driver, witnesses, police or anyone else. Don’t accept fault, even if you believe the accident may have been your fault.
9. Do not contact your insurance company until you have your thoughts clear and have gathered all pertinent accident information.
10. If you are able, take pictures (preferably digital) of the damage to your car, the other car and the area of the accident. Don’t forget your phone may act as a camera.
11. Assist the police with their official report. Get a copy of the report.
So, now you’re fully prepared with information to keep you focused in the event of an accident… We hope you’ll never need it!
Diagram showing direction and position of autos or property involved: