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What to Do if You’re in a Car Accident

So you were involved in an accident, what are your first steps? We won’t beat around the bush, this can be a stressful time and you need to be prepared so you can collect all of the necessary information.


To prepare for a potential accident:

  1. Keep your important, relevant documents in your car! This includes (but is not limited to): vehicle registration, and proof of auto insurance.

  2. Guarantee that your car is emergency ready! Have visible markets inside your vehicle so you can alert oncoming traffic beforehand and prevent additional accidents. Orange cones and emergency signs can help keep you and your passengers safe from more harm after an accident.

  3. Make sure your auto coverage fits your needs! This can greatly reduce your stress after an accident.

In the event of an accident, here are seven things you can do immediately:

  1. If possible, pull your vehicle to the side of the road. You want to be in a safe place when you exit to engage with the other driver.

  2. Assess for any possible injuries. Tend to people inside your vehicle first, and make sure everyone is okay. Call 911 if anyone is injured.

  3. Check your vehicle. Once you've made sure you and your passengers are okay, take a look at your vehicle. Be sure to take pictures of the damages! Make sure you record the details of the accident and include the make and model of the other vehicle as well as the address where the accident happened.

  4. Absolutely do not leave the scene of the accident! If the other vehicle is unattended, try to find the owner or leave a note with your name and contact info.

  5. Collect as much information as you can. This can include the names and contact information of everyone involved in the crash and witnesses. Ask the other driver(s) for their license, car registration, and insurance ID card. Take note of the time of day and the weather conditions during the accident, take a video with your phone is a fast way to accomplish this!

  6. Alert the police or highway patrol. If you are involved in a serious accident, you need to let law enforcement know! If that is the case, get the names and badge numbers of the officers on the scene and ask where you can get a copy of their accident report. If police can’t come to the scene, you can still file an accident report at the nearest police department (or on their website). Having an official report can help protect you from future occurrences like medical injuries or more severe vehicle damages.

  7. Notify your insurance professional about the accident. Do this as soon as possible because you are less likely to remember details the longer you wait.


We hope you and your family are never involved in an accident, but it is always better to err on the side of caution. Becoming familiar with this list can greatly reduce your stress if in the event you are involved in a vehicular accident, so make sure to run through these action items with your spouse and teenagers to ensure everyone is prepared! If you’ve already been in an accident, which one of these facts do you wish you knew beforehand?

CIB Education

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