FENDER BENDER STEPS TO TAKE AFTER AN ACCIDENTPosted On: December 31, 2018 By : AutoLife Team
I was recently driving home after a long day at work. Navigating the chaotic streets of Kathmandu, I made my way up the freshly marked lanes of Maharajgunj when a motorcycle attempted to pass my vehicle; frustratingly, from the left of course. The problem was that there was a 2 ton city bus parked in his way, and as the law of physics states, “no two identical fermions can occupy the same quantum state simultaneously”. The motorcycle clipped the rear right corner of the bus, smashing the bus’s tail light and a few fingers of the motorcycle riders left hand in the process. To my surprise, the motorcyclist decided not to stop and used his adrenaline to fuel his getaway from the scene.
I will spare you the details of the entire scenario and the unfortunate events that followed. However, the incident had me wondering if our readers have any idea as to what to do after an accident, regardless of how minor of an incident it might be. The following are merely my own recommendations of the actions that should be taken after an accident.
STOP AT A SAFE LOCATION
While you might be upset that your vehicle has that brand-new scratch after someone hits you from behind, the middle of the road is no place to stop your vehicle and handle the situation. Make verbal contact with others that are involved in the accident and politely ask them to pull off to the side of the road, so the rest of the road users can move safely along.
ASK FOR POLICE ASSISTANCE
No matter how big or small the accident might be, the involved parties usually tend to get into a pretty heated argument placing fault on each other for the damages. The police are trained to mediate and handle situations when emotions are flying high. Furthermore, the involvement of the police makes it less likely for the other party to try and intimidate you into paying up on the spot without a proper investigation. Most importantly, now you have an official authority figure who is witness to the case and will help with your insurance claim if any further actions need to be taken.
TAKE PICTURES- LOTS OF THEM!!!
While you and the police officer are now both witnesses to the incident, its important to take pictures of the scene and the damages to your vehicles as certain details might get skipped when filing an official accident report. Also, pictures don’t lie about the extent of damage that the other party might feel the need to exaggerate on later when they’re pushing for a payout for the damages either from you or your insurance company.
SEEK MEDICAL ASSISTANCE
Often, injuries don’t present themselves until a few hours or even a few days after the incident. While we are happy we survived the crash and like to believe we are invincible, there could be internal or spinal injuries that can be potentially life-threatening if not addressed by trained medial staff. Please make sure you seek assistance immediately after the accident if you have any doubts about whether you’re just dazed from the incident, or that dizziness is from hitting your head on the pavement.
SERIOUS OR FATAL ACCIDENT
Unfortunately, with the state of our roads (refer to the August issue), the improper maintenance of vehicles, and the inability of most road-users to follow basic driving laws, we are bound to come across a serious accident where individuals might have been seriously injured or even cases of fatalities. So, what are the steps to be taken to properly address the situation should you find yourself in such a critical scenario?
NEVER MOVE A SERIOUSLY INJURED PERSON
This is something we always see in videos and pictures that are shared after a major incident. The injured are being dragged across the street and thrown into a taxi in an attempt to rush to the hospital or nearby clinic. While our government and crippling economy struggles to provide basic aid in the form of fire trucks and ambulances that can arrive at the scene of an accident in a moment’s notice, this is an attempted act of kindness from those that want to help. However, oftentimes this causes more injuries to the person than what they sustained during the accident. In short, all other options should be exhausted before moving the injured, especially with spinal, neck or head injuries.
VEHICLES WITH MAJOR DAMAGE
Now that the vehicle has been involved in a major accident, we often decide to spend lakhs fixing vehicles to make it appear accident-free and sell it off to another party in the future. This is not only unethical but may also cause another major accident in the future if the repairs have not been performed appropriately to resolve all the issues in the vehicle and make it 100% safe for use in the future.
It is unfortunate that we live in a society where it takes hours for fire response teams and medical personnel to reach the scene of an accident. However we have folks such as Michael Kobold who are actively trying the better this situation with programs like the Firetruck Expedition which aims to tackle the efficiency and response time that will significantly improve how accidents scenes are handled. But regardless of how much assistance and funding is brought in, it is truly us- everyday road users to be aware of what to do after an accident.
Its important to collect all the details, even more so when there might be serious injuries to individuals. This will help the police and investigating authorities perform their investigation with more accuracy and hold the individuals at fault accountable. Some of the major details that can be complied are:
• Date and Time of the Accident
• Address of the accident, or approximate address and the nearest cross street
• The direction the vehicles were traveling
• Take photos from a few angles or sketch a diagram of the crash scene
• What happened (As soon as you can write out your account of what happened, or use your mobile phone to record yourself telling all the details for your own records. It’s easy to forget the details when you are all shook up from a crash, so recording you talking about it might help).
• Any notes regarding the driving conditions, the weather, visibility
• Any witnesses names and contact information
• The name, badge number, and contact information for any police officer who comes to the accident