Been in a car crash? This is what you need to know

Blog post posted on 25/02/20 |

Most people know someone who has been involved in a crash, while some have unfortunately experienced it for themselves.

It was only after the unexpected event of being involved in a crash that it struck me how little people know about what they should do if this happened to them.  

After a meal with family and friends I was travelling as a passenger behind my brother-in-law’s car. He was travelling alone whilst myself, my sister, her baby and my other half were in my sister’s car.

Before we knew it another vehicle pulled out of a side street, veered across two lanes and struck the side of my brother-in-law’s car. The impact shunted his vehicle into the kerb which resulted in his tyres blowing out and the airbags being deployed.

Both cars came to a standstill and my brother-in-law turned off his ignition, put on his hazard lights and left his vehicle. My sister also pulled over to check her partner was alright; however we were thankful she had been travelling at a safe distance behind to give her enough time to brake without hitting both vehicles.

My brother-in-law was keen to make sure the other driver was okay so approached the driver’s side and saw an elderly gentleman behind the wheel who seemed in shock but had no visible injuries.

I joined my sister by the side of the road and we could see both cars had experienced damage to the bodywork and the tyres had deflated. With the vehicles unable to be moved without assistance, I thought it was only sensible to call 999 to make sure the traffic was controlled safely and that the elderly gentleman could be checked over by a professional.

The emergency services reacted quickly to my call, arriving in less than 10 minutes, but I’m sure this isn’t always the case during peak rush-hour times. The elderly gentleman explained that he was in a rush and needed to get to his dance class – I’m sure this response was partly shock and I wasn’t convinced he had realised the true extent of the damage he had caused.

After witnessing this crash where a loved one could’ve been seriously injured, it made me realise that incidents are sometimes hard to avoid, regardless of how carefully you drive. As a driver and someone who considers themselves a sensible and safe one, my brother-in-law wasn’t entirely sure of what to do in this situation.

If you are a driver then please familiarise yourself with the following checklist to make sure you’re prepared for the unexpected:

  1. Stop the car
  2. Switch off the engine and turn on the hazard lights
  3. Check for any injuries to yourself or passengers. Call an ambulance if necessary
  4. Call the police – 999 or 101 depending on the situation
  5. Give your details to anyone else involved
  6. Collect details from any other drivers, passengers or witnesses
  7. Take photos of any damage – these could be used as evidence
  8. Contact your recovery company
  9. Contact your insurer

By Emma Mitchell, IAM RoadSmart senior digital communications executive