|

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.
   

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters!
Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Latest From Consumer Reports

Model S P85D
ELECTRIC & HYBRID CAR REVIEWS
Tesla Model S P85D breaks our Ratings systemVideo This brutally quick luxury electric car earned a perfect road-test score.
LIGHTBULB GUIDE
The best energy-saving lightbulbs you can buy The newest CFLs, halogens, and LEDs last longer and cost less to operate.
GPS Electronics
GPS REVIEWS
Standalone GPS devices still make sense for some users A GPS can spare your smartphone battery power while on the road.
cr032k12-Ground_Beef
FOOD SAFETY GUIDE
Special report: How safe is your ground beef?Video Recalls of bacteria-tainted ground beef are all too frequent.
Toilet paper
TOILET PAPER REVIEWS
Roll call: The dirty little secrets of toilet paper Toilet paper makers have been selling less product and masking the shrinkage.
Consumer Reports
ABOUT CONSUMER REPORTS
Interested in joining the Consumer Reports Board? Get details on applying for service on our board of directors.

Connect

and safety with
subscribers and fans

Follow us on:

Cars

Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more