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What to do in a car accident

Mar./Apr. 2007 California Country magazine

Five things to do if you are involved in an auto accident.



You are driving. The radio is on. Everything is great in your world. Suddenly, you are distracted by the ringing of your cell phone. In only seconds, a good day turns into a nightmare. You are in a car crash.

If you're involved in an accident, first make sure the people in your car are not injured. Next, check on the passengers in the other vehicle, or, if necessary, make certain that no pedestrians are hurt.

Five things to do if you're in an accident:

  1. Stay at the scene. Leaving can result in additional violations or fines.
  2. Call 911 or the police as soon as possible. They'll dispatch medical personnel and a police officer immediately to the scene of the accident. Wait for the police to complete an accident report.
  3. If you're on a busy highway, stay inside the car and wait for the police or an ambulance. It's dangerous if passengers stand along a busy street.
  4. Don't get into an argument or a fight with the other driver. Simply exchange contact and insurance information. If possible, also get the name and phone numbers of witnesses.
  5. Call your insurance provider to report the claim. Your agent will ask you to send any paperwork you receive regarding the accident and will give you instructions as to where you can get your car fixed.

Remember: You must have auto insurance to drive legally in the United States!

Three things you should always have in your car:

  1. First aid kit—It will help with some minor injuries until the ambulance arrives. However, make sure everyone is checked by the paramedics.
  2. Camera—If possible, take pictures of the accident. It will help document the crash, position of the cars, etc. A disposable camera is a convenient and inexpensive option.
  3. Insurance and vehicle registration—You want to make sure you always have these two documents in your car.

John Valentine is director of sponsor relations for Nationwide Insurance. He can be reached at 800-552-2437 ext. 4393 or valentj4@nationwide.com.


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