It’s December and drivers across the GTA have been given an early Christmas present; near perfect driving conditions. Let’s not be fooled, winter is coming and with it comes snow and ice. Cue slippery driving conditions for a city in a province that had 63,850 accidents in 2015. With an annual increase of five percent per year, that puts us at over 70,000 accidents for 2017; luckily roughly 70 percent of those are fender benders.
With that, here are six things to keep in mind if you get in a fender bender.
Do Not Leave
Remaining at the scene of an accident seems rather obvious, but 2016 saw 42 people in Toronto die in hit and runs. Whether you hit a car, bike or a person, DO NOT LEAVE. You need to put on your hazard lights, assess the situation and if possible, safely move your car so as not to impede traffic or cause another collision.
File an accident report
Always call the police and file an accident report, even if the other person involved asks you to wait. Also, tell the investigating officer accurate information. If you aren’t sure about something, be honest. The last thing you want is for someone to say you had deliberately given false information. Last time I was in a fender bender the other person told the police my passenger and I switched drivers (we didn’t). Once the officers found out he was being slightly less than honest, Mr. This Is Just My Summer Mustang had a much longer evening than we did.
This may be difficult to remember in the heat of the moment, but if you can, always take pictures of both cars. If the other person involved won’t let you, at least take photos of your car. The next thing you will want is photo evidence of any injuries sustained during the accident. The age old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is true, and if the other person involved decides to be a jerk, that picture could be worth a thousand dollars.
Some of you might think this one isn’t a big deal, the police will handle it or you have an astounding amount of faith in humanity. However, Toronto police typically will not respond to an accident with no injuries. If you do not exchange information, how will you ever deal with your insurance claim? If there are witnesses around, make sure you take down their information as well.
Seek medical attention
I vividly remember an episode of Grey’s Anatomy in which Alex Karev was busy with one woman from an accident that had visible injuries, while her friend appeared fine. Then low and behold the women who looked injured was fine. What happened to the other one? She died. Okay, okay, a little extreme I know, but don’t let that detract from my point. Regardless of how serious your fender bender is, always go to your local emergency room, clinic or family doctor to make sure you’re okay. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Keep a detailed account
Think of it as a fender bender journal; include everything even if you think it’s pointless. Did the other driver have something that helped identify them, such as braces, tattoos, scars, etc? Write that down. Also, make sure you record weather conditions, traffic and time of day, as well as any expenses you incur because of the accident. All of the information you collect will help you during your insurance claim.