Motor vehicle accidents are frightening. They create feelings of shock and anxiety which can make it difficult to maintain a clear state of mind.
The driver’s initial actions are often critical to minimizing the extent of the accident. The driver may be under extreme stress, so procedures must be clear, concise and thoroughly understood. It is recommended that each vehicle in your fleet contain some type of “accident kit”, to be kept fully stocked, in the glove box. We suggest the kit include a disposable camera, pencil, small pad, instructions and forms for use in the event of an accident.
Basic steps the driver should perform at the accident scene are:
- Stop immediately, shut off the engine and set the brakes.
- Protect the area by properly placing emergency warning devices.
- Assist any injured person within the limits of your knowledge – never move an injured person unless they are in imminent danger.
- Notify the police (the driver should not leave the scene of the accident except in extreme emergency situations) – if necessary ask a passing motorist or bystander to make the call.
- Provide their name, company name and their driver’s license to those involved. The driver should not discuss the accident with anyone except their employer, police or their insurance company representative. Drivers must not apologize or admit guilt to anyone, no matter who’s at fault.
- Photograph all areas of the accident scene before the vehicles are moved. Also photograph skid marks, gouges, debris, pot holes, bumps, obstructions and all four sides of the vehicles involved in the accident.
Properly placing emergency warning devices around the accident scene is an important step. Failure to do so could result in further injury or damage to other parties, thereby increasing the overall cost of the accident. This step should be completed immediately after the vehicles involved are stopped and safely turned off.
Gathering complete information at the scene of the accident will benefit you and your insurance agent as the accident is assessed. For more information on securing an auto accident scene, please call The Flanders Group at 800-462-6435.