Being involved in a crash can be alarming. Immediately after a collision, you must stop. Call 999 for an ambulance if needed, the police if the road is blocked and the fire service if people are trapped.
What do I do now?
If any of the following has occurred:
- another person has been injured
- damage has been caused to another vehicle or to someone else's property, including street furniture such as lamps, signs or bollards
- an animal, other than any being carried in your own vehicle, has been killed or injured
you are legally required to remain at the scene long enough for anyone, directly or indirectly involved in the accident, to ask for your details. This might be the owner of an injured animal, a relative of an injured person or the police.
You must give your vehicle registration number, your name and address and that of the vehicle owner (if different) to anyone with reasonable grounds for asking for this information.
If you don't exchange those details at the scene, you must report the incident at a police station or to a police officer as soon as you can and, in any event, within 24 hours. And your insurance certificate must be taken to the police station within seven days of the accident.
In collisions where someone other than the driver is injured you MUST report this to the police.
You do not have to report the matter to the police if it is a minor collision where no one is injured, if you do not suspect a criminal act has been committed and where names and addresses have been exchanged.
It may be useful to collect the following information for insurance purposes:
- time and date of the crash
- names, addresses and phone numbers of drivers, passengers and pedestrians involved
- vehicle details, including make, model and registration number, plus a note of colour, condition, estimated speed, direction, whether lights or indicators were used and the number of passengers
- details of any police officers attending
- description of the damage to vehicle or property and any injuries to people involved
What happens next?
Inform your insurance company that you have been involved in an accident and give them the police reference number if they attended the scene. Give them as detailed a description of what happened as you can.
If the police did not attend, the insurance company will conduct the enquiries on your behalf with the other driver’s insurers and keep you updated with progress
If you were deemed at fault for the collision, the police may have reported you for an offence such as careless driving. If this is the case, they will contact you to arrange an interview to get your side of the story. You may need to seek legal advice if this happens
If evidence suggests you were to blame for the collision, a file of evidence will be prepared. This may take some time as other witnesses will need to be spoken to. You will then be contacted to explain what will happen. This may mean going to court or attending a driver improvement course.
If you were a witness to a collision and the police took details from you, they will send you a questionnaire so you can explain what happened. In serious collisions they may attend in person to take a detailed witness statement.
What else can I do?
If you were held responsible for the collision, or feel there was something you could have done, you may wish to consider some driver training.
Many of us have not had our driving assessed since taking our test which may be many years ago. Even if you haven’t been involved in a collision, it is a good idea to have your driving assessed by professionals as skills will fade overtime.
Our partners at the Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership offer a range of courses and instruction that may help.