Small collisions happen on Irish roads every single day. However, just because there not severe doesn’t mean there not important. For many drivers on the road, the prospect of a collision (even a small one) is their worst nightmare. While we speak a lot about what drivers should do to avoid collisions, like slowing down and maintaining the required braking distance, today we’re going to speak about what to do if a collision occurs. If you’re involved in a van accident here’s a comprehensive guide as to what you should do.
- Slow down and stop the van.
It goes without saying but the minute you encounter a collision with another car you must stop. As a driver, you are legally required to stop at the scene of the collision and take steps to ensure the safety of yourself and indeed, the safety of others. Once you have done a spot check and gathered your nerves, analyse the scene of the crash. If there is a safer place nearby to pull in, you should do so.
Apply your handbrake, turn on your hazard lights and place a warning triangle behind your van. This will alert any oncoming drivers to the fact that there is an obstruction and it will prevent a pile up.
- Check for injury.
Before you pick up the phone, or start investigating the damage done to your van, it’s vital to do a brief physical assessment. Ensure you aren’t injured, sometimes with shock and adrenaline it can take a number of minutes to realise your injured. Speak to the driver and passengers of the other car involved in the collision and ask if anyone if physically injured.
If anyone is in pain, bleeding or remotely hurt then it is necessary to call an ambulance immediately. If someone is unable to leave their seat, do not attempt to move them. As this could do more harm than good!
- Call the guards.
Once you’ve pulled in safely and called an ambulance, then it’s time to ring the Guards. It’s very important to always make contact with the authorities in the event of an accident. Even if the crash is so minor that the Guards do not need to attend, they will make a formal record of the crash via phone. This is a very important step in the aftermath of a crash because it could be a vital aspect of an insurance claim that you or the other driver make further down the line.
If you have any inkling however, that the other driver involved in the collision is not for some reason in a fit state to drive, you must communicate this with the Guards. The Guards will then make a decision on whether to attend the scene, this will also be included in a report.
- Collect additional information.
Gather notes while you wait for the Guards or before you continue on your way. If there are no visible injuries and everyone states that they feel ok, this should be noted. Discrepancies often arise following a crash and while notes from the scene aren’t gospel then can help down the line. Make a note of the date and precise time of the accident. Get the contact details and names of everyone involved. If there were witnesses to the accident that are still at the scene ask them for their name and their contact details.
If you have your phone at hand, it’s imperative to begin taking photos of not only your own van but of any other cars impacted in the collision. Draft a written note of any damage done to the vehicles involved in addition to your photographs.
- Be conscious of your language at the scene.
Don’t assume responsibility at the scene of the accident. As strange as it sounds, aside from discussing injuries or physical damage to the vehicles involved, you should say very little. Try not to get into apologies or debates surrounding who was at fault. This can surprisingly come back to haunt people when it comes to insurance claims.
Let the authorities do the talking if they are present failing that, try to spend your time gathering all the necessary information.
6. Contact your insurer.
Following physical assessments, detail swapping and phoning the Guards, the next call you have to make is to your insurance broker. The brokers at insuremyvan.ie will be able to help navigate you through the entire process. They will provide you with steps on what to do and how do it. They will also be happy to view your photos and listen to all the information provided.
Regardless of who’s fault you think the collision was, by ringing your insurer you’re helping to legitimise and smooth out the entire claims process.
At insuremyvan.ie we are experts in van insurance, contact us today for a quote.