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What to do after an accident

Preparing ahead of time will save you some hassle in the future

Last updated: February 2014

Even a minor fender bender can rattle the most experienced driver. The key is to remain calm and take things a step at a time in getting the necessary information from other drivers and documenting the scene. Here are some tips from the auto experts at Consumer Reports.

  • Place triangles, flares, or another warning signal device around the accident scene, then stand a safe distance away until help arrives.
  • Call police if a phone is handy.
  • Don't argue or admit blame.
  • Don't reveal your insurance limits or other financial data.
  • Ask to see a driver's license, registration, and insurance card for all drivers involved.
  • Write down the name, address, phone number, license number, registration number, and insurance number for the driver(s) involved, and their insurer(s).
  • Also note the other vehicle's license plate, year, make, model, color, and vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • Get names and numbers of witnesses and anyone injured.
  • Get the investigating officer's name, badge number, and department.
  • Draw a detailed diagram of the accident scene, showing streets and cars involved.
  • Notify your insurer at once.
   

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