Fender benders are a common risk that everyone runs when they travel by car, particularly those who commute around cities or busy roads on a daily basis. Even perfect defensive driving techniques can’t cut this risk out completely, so anyone behind the wheel of a vehicle should know what to do if they end up in a collision. Drivers should prioritize personal safety, reasonable precautions for legal concerns, and critical vehicle maintenance before anything else.
Check Everyone for Injury
This may be an obvious first step, but it’s easy to dismiss or ignore signs of physical harm following a minor car accident. The risk of strain, sprain, or internal injury is higher for those with existing health conditions, particularly degenerative diseases. However, even healthy adults can suffer seemingly minor injuries from whiplash or airbag deployment that can lead to chronic discomfort and other problems. It’s a good idea to take babies and very young children in for a physical examination just to be safe.
Always Exchange Information
Some drivers are willing to blow off the standard insurance-swap procedure for very minor accidents, but this can cause a lot of problems in the event of unexpected legal or financial implications. It’s always a good idea to contact a police officer to report the accident and exchange relevant insurance information for future claims. This is an essential step for personal financial protection and establishing an official record of the incident.
Take Pictures and Make Notes
Drivers should take plenty of pictures of the accident, as well as complete coverage of the damage to both vehicles at the time. This can provide valuable evidence for backing a contested claim and preventing false or exaggerated claims from the other party. When possible, it’s also helpful to talk to nearby pedestrians and drivers who witnessed the accident to get their contact information in case you need their testimony later.
Replace Windows and Headlights
Patching damaged paint or smoothing out dents isn’t an urgent priority, but drivers do need to perform some basic maintenance following a fender bender. Head and taillights are often the first victims in a collision, so they all need to be checked and replaced as necessary. Car owners should also get immediate windscreen replacement if there is evidence of fracturing or serious damage. Even small cracks can compromise the windshield and may put the vehicle in violation of traffic laws.
Car accidents can be an overwhelming and frightening experience, even if there was no serious damage or injury. Drivers need to make an effort to keep a cool head and follow a short list of priorities to avoid common problems that could arise in the following weeks.