We know that a car accident is never expected but with over 115,000 road accidents reported each year on UK roads we think it’s best to be prepared in case you are involved in one.
This guide is designed for all drivers, whether they are in company cars or their personal vehicle, but there is a section specifically on what to do if you are in a company vehicle at the time.
What to Do Immediately After an Accident
Whenever you’re involved in an accident no matter the severity of it you’ll have a spike of adrenaline or might even enter a state of shock so it’s important to try and remain calm even if you don’t feel it.
Immediately after the incident there are a few things you should do to ensure the safety of you and any others involved in the accident, as well as to prevent further incidents.
If the car has not already stopped then you will need to stop in as safe a location as possible. Once stopped you should turn off your ignition and put on your hazards so other drivers can see you.
It is a legal requirement to stop the car after any kind of collision and failure to do so can lead to five to 10 points on your driving licence, which will remain for four years.
As soon as you have stopped the first thing you’ll want to do is to check yourself and any passengers of your vehicle for injury. If you are all relatively unharmed and able to leave the vehicle then you should all do so.
If anyone is injured and requires medical attention you should call 999 for an ambulance. Some injuries, like concussions, are not always visible so if you are at all concerned about injuries, even if it is a little while after the event, then you should seek medical help.
If you are able to leave the vehicle then you should move to a safe location, which might be a little distance from the car. You should also put on a high-vis jacket if you have one in the vehicle, and provide any additional ones to your passengers, to help you be more visible to passing drivers.
Should anyone be unable to leave the vehicle or it is not safe for you to do so, for example if you are on a busy motorway, then you should ring the emergency services for assistance.
Where possible, and again if it is safe for you to do so, we also recommend putting out a warning triangle if your vehicle is on the road to alert other drivers of the stationary vehicle.
Notifying the Police of an Accident
No matter the severity of the accident the police need to be notified. It is a legal requirement to notify the UK police of any road traffic accident within 24 hours of it occurring.
Depending on the severity of the accident you will need to ring one of two numbers, 999 or 101.
You should call 999 if:
- Anyone is injured
- Any vehicle or driver has left the scene
- You suspect a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- An uninsured driver is involved
- You suspect the crash was intentionally caused
- The road is blocked
If the accident does not have any of the above circumstances then you can contact the police on 101 to advise them of the incident, and this can be done later on.
If the police attend the scene of an accident they will take the details of any drivers and passengers involved, any witnesses and where possible any third party whose property has been damaged. They will also ask any driver involved to complete a breathalyser test and possibly further tests depending on the accident.
The police will file a report on the accident which the drivers might need the details of to provide their insurers or employers with.
Exchanging Details of an Accident
Whenever you are involved in an accident you will need to take details from anyone else involved and any witnesses.
You are also legally required to provide your details to the other parties. Even if there are no other vehicles involved in an accident then you may still need to provide your details to a third party if their property is damaged.
We’ve got this helpful downloadable pdf that you can keep in your vehicle to help you collect these details.
Keeping a Record of the Accident
Where possible whenever you are involved in an accident you should keep a record for yourself in case you need to provide details for the insurance company or your employer if it happens in a company car.
The first thing we suggest doing is taking photographs. You’ll want to take photos of the scene as a whole, including road markings where necessary, any damage to your vehicle, any damage to other vehicles, any damage to road furniture and property. Where appropriate you might also want to take them of any injuries to yourself or others.
We recommend keeping a pen and piece of paper or notepad in the vehicle that you can take notes on as well, in general as well as if you’re involved in an accident.
You should make a note of:
- Other vehicles involved, including their registration number, make and model, and colour
- Time and date of the incident
- Weather conditions
- Road conditions
- Visibility and any other factors that would influence your driving
- Damage to any vehicle or property
- Description of any injuries
- Positions of vehicle
- Brief description of the incident
Making a note of these factors will help you describe the event to the police, your insurer and your employer.
It is becoming more and more common for drivers, or their businesses on company vehicles, to have a dashcam fitted in their vehicles. These can capture a video of incidents however we still recommend taking your own photographs and notes on the scene as the camera might not capture everything from its fixed position.
Notifying Your Insurer
If you are driving a private vehicle, or one that you are responsible for insuring, then you will need to notify your insurance provider.
You should provide them with the details of the accident, any other parties involved and any witnesses who were willing to provide their contact details at the scene.
They will then be able to process a claim for you. Depending on the number of parties involved, the damage to vehicles and property, any injuries as well as determining fault and who will pay the length of time it takes to process will vary. When you contact them your insurance provider will be able to give a rough estimate of the time it will take.
You do not have to make a claim on your insurance policy, and some drivers choose to repair the vehicle themselves if there is only minor damage to protect their no claims discount. However, you should still notify your insurer even if you do not want to make a claim in case anyone else involved in the accident tries to make a claim against your policy.
What to Do if You Crash a Company Vehicle
If you are driving a company vehicle then you will need to contact your fleet manager. This may be an internal contact within the business or a management company like Wessex Fleet.
You will need to provide them with the details mentioned above and there may be additional details they request or paperwork they require you to complete.
If you are involved in an accident while in a vehicle managed by Wessex Fleet then you can call us on 01722 322 888 to advise us of any accident.
Your fleet manager should also advise the insurance provider of the incident and manage the claims process.
We recommend checking with your fleet manager the accident process when you first receive your company car so you are aware of any business specific processes.
Moving the Vehicle
If you are able to and the car is in a drivable condition then you should move it so the vehicle is not blocking the road as soon as you are able to. This might be a case of pulling it over onto a verge or into a layby until you are able to get roadside assistance to collect the vehicle.
If you are not able to move the vehicle then you will need to put your hazards on and place a warning triangle at an appropriate distance to make other drivers aware of the hazard. There are some circumstances where it might not be safe to do this and we advise only doing so if it is safe for you.