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Summer has a way of curing cabin fever and beckoning us to the great outdoors. To get there, however, it usually means you must climb into a vehicle and spend a little windshield time traveling down the road. The good news is that most of the time, it’s a comfortable journey, unless you have small children in a bad mood or you get a flat tire or run out of gas.
What happens, though, if you were to get into an accident with another vehicle? Assuming you and your family are not injured and your camping gear is still intact, would you know what to do next? Do you simply exchange insurance cards with the other driver and go on your merry way?
Here are 5 things you should do at the scene:
Obtain as much information as you can from the other driver.
Remember, there is no such thing as having too many facts. You should get the name of both the driver and the car’s owner, the license plate number, the name of their car insurance company, insurance policy number, home address, daytime phone number and make, model, and year of their vehicle.
Identify the positions and damage of both vehicles.
Which direction are both cars facing? Where are they in relation to their lane or the road? How did the accident happen? Where is the damage? Check underneath for any leaks as your car might look fine but might be drained of oil or antifreeze if driven much farther. Take pictures if you can.
Get a witness.
If possible, it’s important to get a third-party, non-interested witness. This is especially important in parking lot claims. Law enforcement cannot always come to a scene, so don’t depend on a police report.
Do not leave the scene.
Unless the injured need ambulatory or other immediate care, never leave the scene until all parties have exchanged information.
Call your insurance agent.
Don’t forget this step. It’s important to discuss the accident with your agent before making a claim. In fact, it’s important to visit with your agent before making your trip. People often forget about other important kinds of coverage, such as rental car reimbursement, which comes in handy if your vehicle is not drivable after an accident.
Summer road trips are supposed to be fun, but while you plan, don’t forget safety is paramount. Getting behind the wheel is a tremendous responsibility. Each year more than 30,000 people die from car accidents in the United States. We want to see those numbers drastically reduced, so do the simple things, such as making sure everyone in your car is buckled up and everyone who drives keeps his or her phone out of reach.
We have a saying at State Farm, and it’s been catching on. It’s called 2N2: “Always keep two eyes on the road and two hands on the wheel.” When you have a bias toward safety and apply the above five tips, you and your family will be well on your way to enjoying delicious s’mores in the great outdoors.
Brian Hazelrigg is a husband and father of two daughters and lives in Columbia. For the past 10 years he has been a State Farm Agent. His biggest passion is to help his clients achieve their dreams and recover from the unexpected. He also enjoys playing a supporting role in the Columbia community and its schools.
573-445-1687, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.brianhazelrigg.com.