17 May 2022
What to do if you've been involved in a car accident
Whether you’re a beginner driver or have decades of experience behind the wheel, no matter how excellent your driving skills may be, accidents do happen. Although being involved in a major or even a minor crash can be confusing, at the end of the day, the main thing that matters is that everyone comes out of it safe and unscathed.
So if you find yourself in a car accident, regardless of whether you may be the at fault driver or not, here are five steps to follow to help you stay safe and confidently deal with the situation.
1. Be calm and stay safe
To help everyone positively deal with the unexpected event, it’s best to stay calm and assess the situation logically by peacefully cooperating with the other drivers involved and avoiding heated disputes at all costs.
Once the car accident is over, safely move out of the way of traffic, turn off your ignition to reduce the risk of fire and turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights. It’s wise to scan the road for any debris from the crash that could potentially be dangerous to other drivers or cause further accidents, and only if it is safe to do so, remove it off the road.
If your car is badly damaged and can’t be removed from the crash site, turn off the engine, turn on the hazard lights, safely remove yourself from the vehicle and find a safe place to exchange details with the other people involved.
2. Call for help
After processing the situation and taking some time to calm your nerves, check that everyone is okay. If the crash site is hazardous to other drivers or someone is seriously injured, call triple zero (000) immediately for ambulance and police assistance.
If you can’t drive your vehicle, call NRMA Insurance on 131 132 and ask to arrange a tow or get tow truck details to help safely remove your vehicle from the crash site. With NRMA Comprehensive Car Insurance, we pay for towing to a repairer or safe place if your car can’t be driven after an event we cover, such as a car accident.
3. Exchange details and gather evidence
By law in Australia, exchanging details after being involved in a car accident is a must. And if you have Car Insurance, you’ll need to provide some vital information when making a claim. Be sure to collect the following information from the other driver (or drivers) involved in the accident, including their:
Vehicle registration number
If the other driver refuses to provide you with the vital information needed, record their registration number, and provide it to police when you make a report.
It can also sometimes be tricky to define who is the at fault driver. For this reason, it’s also important to do the following:
Record contact details of any eyewitnesses
Record the time, date and location of the car accident
Take photos of the incident and the damage caused to your vehicle and others
4. Report the accident to police if needed
Reporting a car accident to police varies from state to state in Australia. For example, New South Wales drivers do not need to call police and report an accident if there are no injuries and vehicles do not need to be towed away.
But no matter which state you live in, you should always call for police assistance in the event of a major car accident – especially if someone is seriously injured or trapped, a driver involved in the accident appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol or fails to stop and exchange details, the accident is causing a road blockage, or there are hazards such as fire, leaking fluids, damaged property, or a large amount of debris that could be dangerous for other drivers on the road.
5. Call NRMA Insurance to make a claim
It’s best to contact your insurer as soon as possible. That way, your recollection of the car accident is still fresh in your mind. With NRMA Insurance, help is just one phone call away – call 132 132 or make a car insurance claim online.
Alternatively, you can use the NRMA Insurance app to make a claim instantly. It's easy to start a claim in the app, simply open the app and answer a few questions to get started. Once your claim is lodged you can track its progress every step of the way. And if you need help, our contact details and branch locations are at your fingertips.