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What to do if you are involved in a car crash

November 19, 2012

Why do the authorities call it a car crash or collision and not accident?  That’s because an accident infers no blame.  Over 95% of collisions are a result of driver error.  So here’s what you do if you’re involved in one.

Firstly, you MUST STOP – sounds basic but that’s what you must do by law, then follow this simple guide:

If you are involved in a collision which causes damage or injury to any other person, vehicle, animal or property, you MUST:

  • give your own and the vehicle owner’s name and address, and the registration number of the vehicle, to any person having reasonable grounds for requiring them
  • if you do not give your name and address at the time of the collision, you MUST report it to the police as soon as is reasonably practicable, and in any case within 24 hours.

Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 170

If another person is injured and you do not produce your insurance certificate at the time of the crash to a police officer or to anyone having reasonable grounds to request it, you MUST:

  • report it to the police as soon as possible and in any case within 24 hours
  • produce your insurance certificate for the police with seven days

Road Traffic Act 1988 Section 170


  • Time, date and exact location including road number or name
  • Make, model, colour and registration number of any other vehicles involved.  Try to record the number of occupants and where they were sitting, a brief description also helps.
  • Details of any damage to vehicles or property
  • Details of any injuries insurance details for the driver of the other vehicle, however remember, not everyone carried their insurance certificate
  • Whether the parties involved were using sidelights, headlights or using indicators
  • Weather conditions, visibility and lighting conditions, including street lighting.  Be as precise as you can
  • Obtain the number, rank and name and force details of any police officer attending and other emergency services details if appropriate
  • If you have a camera take as many photographs as possible of the scene from different positions
  • As well as photographs, make an sketch plan and include as much detail as you can
  • Estimated speed of the vehicles involved

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