Nothing takes the air out of your tires (pun intended) like getting into a car accident. All of a sudden, you’re the cause of the traffic backup as you maneuver yourself out of traffic and check to see what the situation is for yourself and them, other driver. As you exit your vehicle, think about the following advice:

  • Call 911. Even if no one is hurt, you’ll want to have the incident in an official record. Get a police report, too. Make sure you do not admit fault.
  • Document EVERYTHING. Take pictures of the accident scene, damage to your vehicle and the other party’s vehicle, as well as any other property damage. Note the time of the accident as well as any weather factors. Keep a pen and pad or paper in your glove box.
  • Move off the road if you can. After noting relative vehicle positions, at least move out of traffic. You don’t want to be the cause of another accident or exacerbate your own situation. If you have safety flares or reflective road triangles, use them.
  • Get the other driver’s information. Driver’s license number, license plate number, insurance information, etc. Note if there were any passengers and get their names, too. Also be sure to note any witnesses to the accident. Use your cell phone to take a photo of the other driver’s license and the license plate of the other vehicle.
  • Report the incident to your insurance company. Even if you don’t plan on filing a claim, it is important that they have your side of the story in case the other party does.

Before you need to heed that advice, consider sitting down with your insurance professional and checking to see what auto coverage you currently carry and if you need to change anything.