This morning, I am reminded that things happen, sometimes almost without notice. Being prepared and knowing what to do is incredibly important. Have you ever been in a traffic accident? I have, more than once. I got a refresher course this morning. I am okay, the kiddos are okay, and my car is okay.
After a somewhat hectic morning getting N & E up and ready for school, we were on our way with not much time to spare. Nothing new here. I pulled out of of the driveway and turned onto the highway to head toward our daycare provider’s home. At the first stoplight, about 4 blocks from home, I had to wait for a red light. As I was sitting there, all of the sudden “Bang.” I looked in my rearview mirror to see an SUV had hit the back of my car.
While I have been in accidents before, this is the first time there was someone else in the car with me. Of course, as a mother, my primary concern is for Kiddo 1 and Kiddo 2. Both as “What was that?” but are unharmed. Using my bluetooth, I called my DH whose response was “You just left.” Yes, honey, I did just leave. My DH said he was on his way out the door and headed toward where we would be stopping.
Rule 1: Stay calm.
Rule 2: Be Safe! If possible pull onto the shoulder or off of the road into a parking lot. Get to a safe area.
Rule 3: Make sure everyone is okay. Call 911 if there are any injuries, or if there is significant damage to either/any vehicle.
I pulled my Honda into a near by empty parking lot and told the kids to sit tight. I got out to be greeted by the young man who was driving the SUV. “My bad. My foot slipped off the brake while I was reaching for something.”
Rule 4: Don’t admit fault, even if you think it may have been your fault. In fact, don’t discuss the accident with anyone but the police.
I looked at the bumper of my Fit to see only minor scratches. Not enough to worry about, they will really just buff out. Had it been -20 (like last week), it would have been a different story. I am sure the plastic bumper would have shattered. As I was assessing the damage, my DH showed up to take the kids to daycare. He looked at the bumper and we decided that the scratch should buff out. Even given this, I got the the information of the driver of the other vehicle.
Had there been any damage beyond some scratches, we would have filed an accident report with the police. This is your proof of what happened. A lot of times the insurance company requires this to pay on a claim. Even if you hit a deer, call your local law enforcement to report it.
Rule 5: File a legal accident report with the police.
Rule 6: Document, Document, Document. Get all the information for all cars/drivers involved. Name, Address, Phone Numbers, Insurance Company, Policy Number. Also get a description and license plate for each vehicle. Write down EXACTLY where the accident happened and what happened.
If there are witnesses, get their contact information as well.
Rule 7: Document some more. Take pictures of the damage.
In this case, there really isn’t any damage to take pictures of. Had the bumper shattered, I would have taken photos of that.
Rule 8: Call your insurance agent (or company) to report the accident.
Again, no claims will be made, so we didn’t do this.
Hopefully you will never need to use this information, but if you do, I hope it helps.