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Minor Car Accidents - A Minute By Minute Survival Guide
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What do you do if you have a minor collision with another vehicle on the road?
First 30 seconds:
1.Stay in the car.
2.Put your emergency flashers and headlights on full beam.
3.Switch off the engine.
4.Apply the handbrake.
5.Take deep breaths.
6.Check your passengers, especially children and old people are OK.
Second 30 seconds, if no-one is more than shaken up:
1.Check for signs of aggression from the other driver
2.If other driver is aggressive, stay in the car and ring the police.
3.If other driver is behaving in a reasonable way then open your door and get out.
4.Remember that everyone has elevated adrenaline levels in this situation and strive to think - calm.
5.Call the police
Next 4 minutes:
1.Consider whether your passengers are safer inside the car or outside.
2.Ask nearby drivers for their details and if they would be willing to act as witnesses.
3.Talk to the other driver, but never admit any responsibility for the accident.
4.Leave the car where it is, until the police have arrived, even if it is causing an obstruction.
Next 5 minutes:
1.Take photographs of cars and licence plates. Discretely try to include the other driver in your shots.
2.Take photos of the junction and road layout where the accident happened. Include road condition and weather.
3.Make notes. Was the other car driving with headlights? Was the other driver wearing glasses, or sunglasses? Did the other driver seem distracted by children or anything else in the car. Was the other driver drinking, using a phone or smoking when theaccident happened?
Next 15 minutes:
1.By now the police should have arrived. Answer their questions and stay calm.
2.Tell the police officer of any observations that are relevant, such as if the other driver was using a phone, or had no lights on.
3.Move your vehicle once the police officer has completed any measurements or other necessary observations.
4.Ask the police officer what the next stage is. Will there be any prosecution?
5.The police officer may give you an indication whether your vehicle is safe to drive home.
6.Make sure the police officer gives you an Incident Number and his or her name and number.
7.If your vehicle cannot be driven call a vehicle recovery service.
Your insurer will almost certainly have a list of Approved Repairers. These will be companies that the insurer has found inspected and found acceptable. Many companies will inflate estimates if they know that the bill is going to be paid by an insurance company. The estimates provided by Approved Repairers have been judged reasonable and uninflated.
The workshop receives a large part of its business from the insurance companies so are well motivated to stick to their rules, and not to add on damage repairs not arising from the insured accident.
To receive approval status the bodyshop will need to have jigs, paint-shops and ovens to heat the painted parts to ensure the work is up to the original quality.
While your car is in the bodyshop, ask them for estimates to make good any other body work damage that has not arisen from the accident. You will have to pay for this yourself, but the price is likely to be lower than if you just drove in off the street to have those jobs done.
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