Involved in a Crash? Important Next Steps from AAA Experts
Phoenix, July 25, 2012. Being involved in a car crash is an emotional and stressful time for all involved. And, as back-to-school time nears and drivers readjust to more traffic on the roads, crashes increase. That’s why AAA is suggesting steps for motorists to take immediately following a collision.
According to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department (MVD), crashes during the months of June and July usually drop, with crashes spiking again in August. In fact, during 2006 to 2010, crashes in urban areas increased an average of 9 percent from July to August. Data also show that the commuting time between 4-6 p.m. resulted in the highest number of crashes, with Fridays logging the most collisions and Mondays the least, according to the MVD.
“The best defense to avoid problems after a collision is to be prepared,” said Brad Oltmans, vice president of insurance for AAA Arizona. “Have a pen, paper, camera or cell phone camera and a copy of your insurance card. The use of a mobile app such as AAA Insurance App can help you properly document the event.”
To help motorists minimize stress and get back on the road quickly, AAA recommends that motorists involved in an auto crash follow these steps:
Document the scene and exchange information: Gather information with all parties involved in the crash, including witnesses. Having this on file will help complete any paperwork or address potential problems. AAA suggests documenting:
- Addresses/email address
- Vehicle Information including makes, models and years for all cars involved
- Vehicle identification/license plate numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- Insurance carriers and policy numbers
- Take photos of the location, people involved and damaged vehicles
- Notify the police: The law requires you to notify the police – no matter what either party says. If the police do not come to the scene, you can file a report by contacting your local police department. Having a report on file may help later if a liability claim is filed.
- Control the scene: Get to a safe place before exchanging information. If the vehicle is driveable, move to the right or left emergency lane. Turn on your hazard lights and set out warning flares or reflective triangles. Do not leave the scene of the crash, but find a safe place to remain until emergency services arrive. However, if injuries are severe or if moving vehicles isn’t possible, remain safely inside your vehicle until help arrives.
- Assist the injured: Check with those involved in the collision to determine if there are any injuries. If so, call 9-1-1.
Notify your insurance carrier: Your insurance carrier must be notified following a crash to start the proper claim filing. Having proof of insurance in your vehicle is required by law.
Get your vehicle repaired: You have the right to get your vehicle repaired at a body shop of your own choosing. In addition to facilities suggested by your insurance company, consider a quality AAA Approved Auto Body shop which can be found by visiting www.AAA.com/Repair.
- Unattended vehicle or property: If you are involved in a collision that involves an unattended vehicle or property, take action to inform the owner. If you cannot locate the owner, attach a written notice of the collision to the vehicle or property, being sure to include your owner information listed above.
Drivers and owners of motor vehicles must be prepared to assume legal and financial responsibility if involved in a crash, but AAA advises not to let your emotions and feelings get in the way of deciding who is at fault.
“Don’t be pressured into admitting fault or giving an opinion about the cause of a crash,” said Oltmans. “If you wish, you can consult with an attorney before giving a statement.”
AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and auto travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.