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5. Document the scene

Use the camera, video and voice memo functions of your smartphone to record as much detail as possible about the accident, advises Luna.

“Check the impact on the car: was it in the front, on the driver’s side, in the back? The easiest way to do this is by taking a photo of the entire car and close-ups of the damage to your car and the other party. ”

Make a note of the date and time of the accident and photograph or film the entire scene of the accident, including skid marks or property damage. Make a note of the street names and the direction each vehicle was going before and after the accident.

“What is often overlooked is the position of the cars [relative] to the street. This is critical information as it helps the expert understand the accident when you report the damage, ”says Luna.

Sketch a diagram of the accident scene. Use the voice memo app on your phone to dictate what happened while the details are still fresh in your head. Add information about the weather and visibility.

6. Avoid roadside discussions about responsibility

Several years ago, Denise Schipani, 54, and her son were stopped at a traffic light near their home in Huntington Station in New York when a car crashed into theirs from behind.

“We were jerked forward and I braked hard and stopped when I hit the bumper of the car in front of me,” she says. “At that moment, I had no idea what happened and I remember being confused that there was little black pieces all over the back seat. It turned out that the rear window was broken. We were shaking, but no one was hurt. “

Schipani turned on her hazard lights, checked that her son was okay, and called 911.

“Then I went up to the other driver. He tried to blame wet leaves on the road, but there weren’t any,” she says. “He obviously accelerated in a distracted way.”

Schipani made the right decision not to argue. Emotions can go high after a car accident. So if you think the other driver is impaired or aggressive, trust your instincts, advises Luna.

“Stay in your car and don’t interact with the person as a police intervention may be required,” he says.