The essential things to do if you have a crash

Andrew Newbound

By: Andrew Newbound

With new drivers on the road everyday, there is always the chance of a crash. Whether you are involved directly in a crash on the road or you witness an accident, crashes can be very serious incidents and it is vital that those involved know what to do.

If you are involved in a crash there are some things you should do to avoid any further vehicles becoming involved. If possible, turn on your hazard lights and place a warning triangle in the road. Turn off all of the vehicles’ engines and make sure nobody smokes near the vehicles as this could lead to fuel catching fire.

If you have been involved in a serious road incident it is vital to stay calm, act quickly and responsibly. You will need to:

- Dial 999 and report what has happened, giving them your contact number immediately in case you get cut off

- Give your location. If you are unsure where you are, ask someone, check for road signs, nearby landmarks or check electronic devices such as sat nav or a maps application on your mobile phone

- Tell them what happened, to the vehicles and passengers, and most importantly, if anyone is injured and their current state

Once you have informed the relevant services, you should check the scene to see if there is anyone that requires help. You should have a first aid kit or an emergency car kit, which you can use if anyone needs assistance, particularly if there is any heavy bleeding. It is important that you do not move anyone, but if there is a casualty who is not breathing, you should perform CPR. A 999 operator can talk you through this, but if this is not possible, you should clear the mouth, gently tilt the head back whilst holding the nose and blow into the mouth at 5 second intervals.

If you are involved in a minor crash or incident, you need to collect information from the other driver for insurance purposes. You need to know:

- What exactly happened, to the best of your knowledge

- Date and time

- Location of the incident

- The details of all the vehicles involved including make, model, license plate, colour, estimated speed, direction and number of passengers

- The contact details of all the people who were involved including their full name, a contact telephone number and a description of what they look like

- Details of any witnesses who were not involved

- You should also take photos of the vehicles involved and of any minor injuries

It’s also important to know the law surrounding those who fail to stop or who flee the scene of an accident. There are two main offences that can occur when there has been a crash, failing to stop and failing to report. The maximum penalty for these offences is £5,000 and five to ten penalty points on a license. Motorists could be banned from driving for either of the offences, and if both offences have occurred, it is much more likely. If the driver flees the scene of a serious incident the penalties can be much more severe, including jail time.