British roads, broadly speaking, are safer than they ever have been. Thanks to advances in technology, motoring culture, and the law, we’ve seen a marked decrease in collisions and fatalities since the 1970s.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Transport, fatalities have been declining steadily since 2011 – from 1,901 to 1,390. We see similar downward trends in rates of casualties and serious injuries, which extend back before the first coronavirus-related lockdown in 2020.
If you’re going to be driving on public roads, then you have a duty to take your own safety seriously, as well as that of other road users. This mean being pro-active about avoiding collisions, and reacting appropriately if you should happen to be involved in one.
So, exactly what should you do if you’re involved in a car accident? Let’s run through the essentials.
Stop the Car
Your first course of action should be to pull over and stop the car. If it isn’t safe to pull over, then find somewhere safe and do it. If you’re involved in a collision and you don’t stop, then you are almost certainly breaking the law.
Turn on Your Hazard Lights
Having stopped the car, you should switch off the engine and turn on your hazards. This will help to alert other motorists that there’s a problem ahead. This is especially important at night-time, when visibility might be lower.
Check for Injuries
If anyone in your car, or anywhere else, has been injured in the collision, it’s time to call an ambulance. Don’t attempt to go to the hospital yourself if the injuries are serious. Make sure that you document any injuries you’ve suffered.
It may be that you need to use the evidence when you later come to make a personal injury claim. Don’t apologise, as this might be taken as an admission of guilt.
Get Everyone’s Details
You’ll need to collect the details of anyone involved in the collision, as well as anyone who might have witnessed it. This applies especially if the other driver is not insured. Again, you’ll need to document the scene as extensively as possible. If it’s due, it might be appropriate to book your MOT online to make sure that everything’s working – but don’t do it immediately.
Call the Police
In certain circumstances, you’ll need to call the police. If the other driver leaves the scene without providing their details, or you think that the other driver might have been under the influence or alcohol, then you’ll need to put in a call. The same applies if the road is blocked as a result of the collision – the police need to know. If you fail to advise them, then you might leave yourself exposed to legal problems later.
If you suspect a hit-and-run collision, then that’s also grounds for calling the police. Don’t chase after the other vehicle; leave it to the professionals.