What to do after a car accident - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

What to do after a car accident

Do you know what to do in the moments immediately following a car accident?

There are more than six million traffic accidents on U.S. roads every year and more than three million people are hurt.

If it hasn't happened to you yet, it's probably only a matter of time. And as level-headed as you might think you are, even fender-benders can leave you stunned and shaken in those moments right after a collision.

Our automotive expert, Steve Strope, recently interviewed his good friend, Officer Mike White with a list of 'need-to-know' facts on the subject. He says that a step-by-step checklist can help you keep your cool and avoid making costly or fatal mistakes in the aftermath of an accident.

"If you get in an accident, no matter how slight it is, and you leave the scene, it's a crime," says White. "Even if you're in a parking lot and you hit a car that's unoccupied, still it's a crime."

After an impact, White says the first thing you want to do is check yourself for injuries. If you're okay, check your passengers. Yell out to them. Make sure they hear you and they respond.

If you're injured and you cannot reach your phone, don't move. If you can't call for help, get somebody else in the car or yell out the window to get somebody to call 911.

If you and your passengers are okay, White says first and foremost, get out of the roadway. Pull onto a side street, pull over to the side, and motion to the person you got in the accident with to do the same.

"A lot of times, people will try and blame the other driver for what they did," says White. "Get all the party's information; get the facts. That's why we have insurance companies with investigators. Those investigators will figure out what exactly happened at the collision."

Do you have to call the police?

"If there's no one injured and you can move your cars, the police don't necessarily have to be involved. However, if your car is blocking the roadway and you cannot move it, that would be the time to call the police, because they can get tow trucks out there faster to the scene," White explains.

He adds that you should use your cell phone or other camera to capture photos of the initial damage.

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