The closer we get to winter, the greater the dangers on the roads due to poor visibility and slippery road surfaces. It doesn’t matter if you are a novice with a restricted license or a driver with more than 30 years of driving experience. Anyone can be prone to crashing, which means we need to be more aware of this.

Any car accident is a frightening experience. It’s important to remember the basics to keep an already difficult situation from getting worse. Here are five important things to keep in mind if you have a major crash.

The safety of the occupants is of the utmost importance

After an accident, your first priority is to check if someone is injured and needs help. Call the police / ambulance if someone has been injured or * 555 if it is not an emergency.

Switch on hazard warning lights and headlights. If your vehicle can be moved, pull it to the curb, out of traffic.

Counting notes

If another car bumps into your car, you are likely to be shocked. Writing down what happened is probably the last thing on your mind. However, if you can take some detailed notes about what happened in the car accident, it will create a much more accurate record of what happened than if you just rely on memory. The AA Roadservice mobile app has an accident component to do just that. So when you have your phone handy, just write down the details in the app.

Exchange details with other drivers including name, address, contact number, insurance company information, registration number, vehicle color, make and model. Do not admit liability or try to settle a claim yourself. This can limit your insurance company’s ability to clarify with other parties involved and invalidate your claim.

Don’t forget to check for details with eyewitnesses too, as they often contain important information that can be helpful in case of a dispute.

Pictures say more than a thousand words

If possible, snap some photos of the location, the accident damage, the orientation of the vehicles on the road, and other relevant information such as license plates and driver’s licenses. The accident component of the AA Roadservice mobile app also includes a storage location for photos.

Would you like a sketch?

You don’t have to be the late Pablo Picasso to make a quick sketch of what happened – how the cars were moving at the time of the accident. Do this while the event is fresh in your mind as you may be asked to get this information from the police or insurance companies.

pick up the phone

Call your insurance company. Remember that the evidence and description you create will be used to determine liability. In many cases it can be a complex scenario. When multiple vehicles are involved, it can be difficult to determine who is responsible for what. This is where insurance really pays off. With AA Insurance, it is quick and easy for the policyholder to make a claim online.

Slight bumps and abrasions

Another more common but less serious accident is the nose-to-tail injury. These accidents happen every day across New Zealand and are more common in high-traffic areas. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, turn on your hazard warning lights and get off the road as soon as it is safe – you don’t want to be the person holding the highway for half an hour.

Similar to a larger-scale collision, take notes and photos to make sure all facts are covered. If there are witnesses, write down the names and contact numbers of everyone who saw the crash in case you encounter insurance barriers later.

This type of accident can often result in other drivers becoming distracted and crashing or slowing down traffic. Just the presence of two slightly damaged vehicles on the side of the road means that Rubberneckers slow down and marvel at the scene.

Unfortunately, it is safe to say that accidents are more common in winter conditions. However, you can mitigate this by becoming aware of winter road conditions and knowing what to do in the event of an accident. In any accident it is important to remain calm to reduce the likelihood of further danger to yourself and other road users.