Getting in an accident is a traumatic experience whether it was your fault or not. To take the guessing out of such a stressful situation, Jalopnik readers have a to-do checklist for when it happens.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers.
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Photo Credit: popmayhem
10.) Stay calm
Suggested By: cjcz92
Why: Do not panic. You'll probably be furious/terrified/mortified because you were rear-ended/t-boned/at fault. However, you don't want to make a bad day worse by getting slapped with an assault charge after you punch the other guy in the face.
Photo Credit: David Fulmer
9.) Make sure everyone is ok
Suggested By: Superkiwizorro
Why: This is the first thing you should do when you talk to your passengers or get out of the car. If anyone is not alright, call an ambulance.
Photo Credit: Rian Castillo
8.) Pull off the road
Suggested By: Demon-Xanth
Why: First of all, you don't want to be causing any more accidents, which is especially likely if you're on a busy road or around a blind curve. And as a bonus, you won't be contributing to any additional traffic by blocking the road or reducing the number of available lanes.
Photo Credit: Taffy van Doorn
7.) Turn off the engine
Suggested By: SteetsideStig
Why: Reader SteetsideStig points out, "fire is always a risk." As highly engineered as cars are today (they're even designed to crash), no accident is the same, and you never know what is leaking or what's been damaged.
Photo Credit: Tim Pierce
6.) Remember everything
Suggested By: Earthbound And Down
Why: Remember every detail of how the accident happened, the cars involved, who was driving and what the conditions were. Memorize the license plate of the other car involved, then write that down at the first opportunity. This step is doubly important in the case of a hit and run.
Photo Credit: John Shappell
5.) Call the cops
Suggested By: Proud to drive a beater.
Why: When it comes time for the insurance companies to duke it out, you'll want a police report on your side saying that the other guy was following too closely or something equally damning.
Photo Credit: Chris Yarzab
4.) Take pictures, collect evidence, find witnesses
Suggested By: Super Fluke
Why: As a Jalopnik reader you'll likely have little trouble identifying the make and model of the cars involved, but take pictures to have proof of what happened. If possible, find someone who saw what happened to back up your claims.
Photo Credit: Yorkali Walters
3.) Don't admit fault
Suggested By: Chairman Kaga
Why: Let the insurance companies figure it out. That's their job. It might seem pretty clear to you that you caused the accident, but if you can get off with a "Not at Fault" mark on your record instead, why not shoot for it?
Photo Credit: obeck
2.) Trade information
Suggested By: 404 Name not found
Why: Getting the other driver's name, insurance information, license plate number, and make and model is a good idea. Do be advised, however, that under no circumstances is it necessary for you to show them your driver's license, thus giving away your date of birth, home address, etc. The other driver has no need for this information, and if they're mad at you, there's a good chance you don't want them to have it.
Photo Credit: Chandra Marsono
1.) Call your insurance company
Suggested By: killerkoolaid37
Why: This is the last step, because obviously you don't care about your insurance company as much as you do the safety of other humans or the sanctity of your car. However, it is a good idea to let them know, as they'll be the ones giving you the money to get your car rolling again. And then jacking up your monthly costs to cover that one-time payment. Not fun, but usually necessary.
Photo Credit: Rian Castillo