Being involved in a road accident – even a minor one – can be a traumatic experience in the short and long term and what you do immediately after the accident takes place can be a turning point for the lives of all parties involved.
So, what are the most crucial steps you need to take after you have been involved in a road accident?
Keeping your personal safety at the forefront of your mind, you should turn on your car’s hazard warning lights and switch off the ignition, which can help to reduce the risk of a fire starting.
If you have been involved in an accident with a truck carrying a dangerous load you should:
- Call the Police or Fire Brigade;
- Avoid coming into contact with the spilt chemicals or breathing in the fumes or dust;
- Warn people to steer clear of the crash; and
- If it is safe enough to do so, follow any emergency procedures outlined in the Procedures Guide that should be in the truck.
In the case of a serious accident, the Police may need to attend to assist with traffic direction and hazard reduction and/or to conduct an investigation into how and/or why the accident eventuated. These types of investigations usually occur if:
- A person has been killed or injured in the accident;
- It is believed that one or more of the drivers is under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Property has been damaged; and/or
- One or more of the parties fails to stop or exchange information.
The Police do not need to attend the crash site if unless any of the above has occurred.
Unless your vehicle has been towed, the Police do not need to be informed of the accident. Simply exchange insurance details with the other parties and leave the site.
What details must be exchanged?
When dealing with another party involved in the crash you must provide them with your name, address and licence details and your vehicle’s registration number. If you do not own the vehicle, provide the other party with the name and address of the owner. The other driver(s) should provide you with the same information.
Where Police are involved, you must provide them with the details of the accident, the vehicles involved and your name and address. If you know the names of any witnesses or the drivers of other vehicles involved you should also provide those. You should have your drivers licence ready to show to Police.
Organising for your vehicle to be towed
If your car or another party’s vehicle is not able to be driven, it is likely that you will require the assistance of a tow truck.
It is the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle to report the accident to police as soon as possible after the accident and to provide authority to the tow truck driver to tow your vehicle by signing a Towing Authorisation Form.
When dealing with the tow truck company it is important to remember that you maintain the right to:
- Decide on the location that your vehicle will be towed to;
- Be given a copy of the towing authorisation form; and
- Contact someone prior to signing the authorisation form for assistance on where your vehicle should be towed to.
It is the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle to ensure that the tow truck driver is in possession of an accredited driver certificate.
By following all of the above steps you can ensure you have complied with the road rules and have minimised the risk of causing further harm to yourself or others.