Two weeks ago, I was driving Sheri to work and we were involved in a car accident. The rain was coming down softly and we were talking about our plans for the day and that evening. I turned off our street, onto a larger street in east Dallas. I passed by the neighborhood 7-11 and the day care center while in the middle lane. A Cadillac Escalade was to my left waiting for oncoming traffic to turn onto a side street.
As I passed by the Cadillac, I didn’t notice the 2016 Ford Mustang that shot out from the side street, passing in front of the Escalade until it was too late. He T-d me with enough force to push our car across the right lane and onto some shrubs running down the sidewalk of a neighborhood home.
There are a number of lessons I’m reminded of as a result of our accident which I thought would be interesting to share. I’ve divided them into two parts. This week’s post outlines what to do at the accident scene while I’ll work through my claim process next week.
Turn off engine: When everything came to a stop, I confirmed the engine was turned off and not running. This is to prevent the car from moving on its own and hitting another car or object in a second impact. It may also prevent a running motor from igniting any spilled fuel.
Check for injuries: I turned to Sheri and saw the shocked look on her face. It was covered with white milk dots from the cup she’d been drinking from which almost made me laugh. Milk was everywhere! I confirmed she was not injured and let her know I wasn’t either. I then confirmed after getting out of the car, the other driver wasn’t injured too. If anyone is injured do not attempt to move them, instead call 911.
Car location & towing: If either car is in the flow of traffic check to see if it can be safely moved out of the flow of traffic. This protects you and the other party from being hit by another vehicle. Only do this if it’s safe to limp the car to a side street, parking lot, or onto the shoulder. If not, stay in your vehicle and wear your seat belt until emergency responders and tow trucks arrive.
On a side note, the laws concerning who orders wrecker service in Dallas have changed. If no emergency personnel respond (Dallas Fire or Police Departments), then the respective drivers may utilize their own wrecker service. If however, Dallas Fire or Police respond, then they will order the needed number of wreckers.
Exchange information: The other driver and I stood next to my car which was off the street and exchanged insurance cards and drivers licenses. It’s always good to get both. Either take pictures of the information or write it down. If you take pictures with your phone, confirm everything is readable before leaving the scene.
The information you should obtain from the driver’s license is their name, address, and driver’s license number. The information you need from their insurance card includes their name, policy number, effective and expiration dates, and company contact information. I also suggest getting a picture of the other vehicle’s license plate. This can be very helpful if the other person attempts to drive away from the scene without exchanging information. If they do, call the police. Chances are, they don’t have car insurance.
Police report: If the police do respond, there will probably be a police report. Be sure to obtain the report number from the responding officer. This may also be helpful in determining who was at fault, what laws were violated and who caused the accident.
Witness information: If witnesses to the accident stop and are willing, obtain their name and phone number. They may, not always, be able to corroborate who was at fault if there is any question. I neglected to do this, however, I wasn’t worried about it based on the police officer’s comments and the fact I clearly had the right of way.
I am grateful neither us nor anyone else was injured. Our car hit the curb where it dips down for wheel chair access and avoided flipping. The shrubs we landed on kept us from hitting a tree on Sheri’s side of the car. Our accident could have been much worse.
Do you have a question, comment, or experience you’d like to share? If so, please share them with me on my Google +, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!