A road traffic accident can be a shocking and disorienting event, no matter how small the crash may have been and it can be hard to know what to do after an accident. It is important to try to remain calm in the aftermath of an accident and try to take down as many details as possible. In a serious collision, the outcome is dictated by the first responders and emergency services. In a minor collision though, it’s important to know what to do in order to retain control of the situation.
Firstly, you must stop. Leaving the scene of an accident in the UK is an offence and carries a penalty. As a priority, ensure that both you and anyone else involved is not hurt and if they are, call the emergency services. Do not move anyone who may be seriously injured. Try to keep anyone involved warm, as they may have gone into shock.
If the damage to the vehicle is minor, it is still important for you to take notes, and photograph evidence in the immediate aftermath as you cannot be sure what the full extent of the damage is when you leave the scene afterwards.
Try to avoid saying sorry or taking the blame for what happened, until you have the full facts of the situation. It is natural to want to apologise, particularly if you feel you were at fault, but it is best to wait until you are sure.
Finally, seek medical attention, even if you have no obvious injuries, as whiplash can take several days to appear.
If you are in a minor collision, don't assume that you can just leave the scene if your vehicle is drivable; ensure you swap details with the other party, or parties. If damage is caused or injury sustained by anyone and you do not stop and swap details, then you must report the accident within 24 hours at a local police station and to your insurer. If you find out you were hit by an uninsured driver, you'll need to report the accident to the police as well.