Acquiring proper and useful knowledge of what to do in the event of a motor accident will save you a whole lot of hassle and heartache
Dealing With Car Accidents the Smart Way PHOTO: SPH

As Ambrose Bierce, a renowned American editorialist and journalist extraordinaire, puts it ever so aptly, “An accident is an inevitable occurrence due to the actions of immutable natural laws.”

Whether we like it or not, automobile accidents are sometimes difficult to avoid, no thanks to the increasing number of vehicles out on the road as well as the general hustle and bustle of modern lifestyles.

Automobile-related accidents may vary in terms of severity, but they are indubitably great causes for concern. In Singapore alone, there was a shocking statistic of 7,168 fatal and injury accidents on the road in the year 2012 (Statistics from Singapore Traffic Police). As such, it is imperative for us to possess effective and essential knowledge of what to do in the event of a car accident.

#1: Dealing with the direct aftermath

Bang! Oh my, it has happened; you have just got into a traffic accident. What now?

The main gist of dealing with the direct aftermath of the accident is to keep your cool. Remaining calm and collected and not succumbing to panic and despair will help to alleviate any upcoming rashness or further grief.

The very first thing you should do is to check that everyone present in the vehicle, including yourself, is fine. If there are any injuries, do dial for an ambulance and/or the police right away without any further ado.

Next, do take a photograph of the resultant collision from your view inside the said vehicle if it is possible to do so. Following which, take a pen, paper and camera and get out of your vehicle if it is safe to do so.

#2: Procedural steps for upcoming vehicle claims

Before you do anything else, it is highly recommended that you take a picture of the accident scene. Do focus on the respective vehicle damages while taking these photographs.

Find out if there are any injuries incurred in terms of the other party, and help to call for an ambulance or the police if the other party is unable to do so.

Most importantly, do not forget to exchange your particulars such as name, mobile number and vehicle license plate, as this will serve as a contact point in terms of upcoming insurance claims.

Of course, bear in mind that your vehicle is most likely to be blocking traffic and leading up to a resultant jam on the roads. As such, drive your vehicle to a safe position in order to prevent that from happening. In more severe situations, do not hesitate to dial for a towing service to take your car away as soon as the situation permits.

#3: Take proper action

Now that you have managed to get all the relevant details from the other parties and taken scene pictures of the damage suffered by both vehicles, contact your insurance company to let them know about this situation. You may also opt to visit an authorised automobile workshop, which often provides insurance claiming services.

To put it simply yet succinctly, you have the option of claiming either from your own insurance company or the other party’s. You can also go for a mutual settlement agreement with the other party (or parties).

#4: Make a report

Appalling it may seem, but a relatively significant number of people actually do forget or are not aware of the fact that it is mandatory to report a motor accident within 24 hours in order for your accident claim to remain unprejudiced and your insurance policy’s NCD (No-claim Discount) to not be affected.

If there are any injuries sustained or there has been a case of a hit-and-run accident, it is compulsory to also file a police report. This course of action is highly advised to be taken before making an insurance claim in order to prevent any further wastage of time.

Do bring along your NRIC card, driving license, insurance certificate, relevant scene pictures and other information such as a signed mutual agreement document. For a comprehensive list of trusted insurance companies and authorised workshops handling motor insurance claims, do visit here.

On an ending note, it should be reiterated and re-emphasised that it is most definitely important for a driver to understand the procedure that he or she should follow in the unfortunate event of an accident. Knowledge of what and how to go about it will save you from being scammed by nasty touts or bullied by other unethical road users. With all that being said, it comes as no surprise that safe and astute driving is still the best way to avoid all these potential hassle at the end of the day.

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