What to Do When You’re in a Car Accident

Accidents often happen when you least expect them, and car accidents are no different in this regard. A Car collision can vary greatly from a tiny fender bender to a complete vehicle write-off. If you’ve never experienced an accident before it can be hard to know what to do, what information you need to collect, and if the police need to be involved or not. This article will cover everything you need to know in the event of a car accident in great detail to guide you through a stressful situation. 

What to Do First?

The first thing you should ask yourself after an accident is:

  • Was anyone injured in the car accident?
  • Do you suspect the other driver in the collision is impaired in any way?

If you answer yes to either, your first step is to call 9-1-1 and keep the vehicles where they are.

If no one is injured and the other driver does not appear to be impaired you can go to the next steps:

  • Are all the vehicles involved in the collision still driveable?
  • Do all drivers have the proper documentation including a valid driver’s license, active registration, and vehicle insurance?

If you say yes to both of these questions then a police officer does not need to attend the scene of the accident. If the vehicle damage from all vehicles involved in the collision exceeds $2000 you are legally required to go to a police district office to file a collision report. 

A full list of the police district offices in Calgary can be found by clicking on this link.

If the vehicles are not driveable or the other driver doesn’t have the proper documentation phone 403-266-1234 to get the Calgary Police to attend the scene of the accident. 

If you are unsure if the damage exceeds $2000 it is recommended to attend an automotive body shop to get an estimate before visiting the police district office. 

Before leaving the scene of an accident make sure you trade the following information with the other driver:

  • Legal Name
  • License Plate Number
  • Driver’s License Number
  • Valid Registration information
  • Proof of Active Insurance

If the damage is under $2000, no one is hurt, and the vehicles are both fully driveable you do not need to report the accident to the police. 

If there are any witnesses of the car accident make sure to obtain their full name and contact information. Once the area around the accident is safe it’s a good idea to use your smartphone to take pictures of any vehicle damage and the surrounding scene. It is important to note that any collision of $2000 or more will require a police report file number and a brief summary of what happened when you deal with your insurance company for any claims. This will be provided by the police officer who attends the scene of the accident or you’ll be given a copy of the report after filing at a police district office. A copy of this report can also be found on the Alberta Government website.

How to Reduce the Chance of a Car Accident

While you can’t guarantee that a collision will never happen to you, here are some steps to help greatly reduce the chances of being involved in a car accident:

  • If road and weather conditions are poor, drive slower and give yourself more space to stop.
  • Avoid going on your phone or other electronic devices that take your attention away from the road.
  • Make sure you are in the proper lane well ahead of using an exit or intersection. 
  • Know your route well so you don’t need to check your phone/navigation system constantly. 
  • Be aware of the vehicles around you and keep an eye out for reckless drivers.

Stay posted to the Honda West blog for more helpful automotive articles like this one and our previous “Top 5 Reasons to Buy Winter Tires with Your Vehicle Purchase”