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Emergency Guide: What To Do When You Get In A Car Accident?

Don’t panic. By taking the right steps, you can prevent a bad situation from becoming worse.


When you are involved in any car accident, adrenaline pulses through your veins. Your mind is racing, but you might not be thinking clearly.

This guide helps you cover all the important bases when you do find yourself involved in a car accident. By staying calm and taking the right actions, you can prevent a bad situation from becoming worse.

Always Remember: Safety First

The ensuing steps in this guide only apply if you’re not seriously injured. First and foremost, get out of any immediate danger – away from the roads and/or vehicles.

If you are seriously injured, call 995 for an ambulance if you’re able to. Otherwise, get someone else to make the call. If there is a hit-and-run or serious injury, you should call 999 to make a police report.

If you’re okay, turn off your engine and switch on your hazard warning lights. Remember, you’re on the road, and there are fast-moving cars travelling just a few metres away in adjacent lanes.

If you foresee waiting at the spot for some time, you should place a reflective warning sign at least 20 metres away from your vehicle.

Call For An Ambulance And/Or Police If Necessary

Get out of the car once it is safe to see if the other party is alright. This is not meant to ascertain liability, but to check if anyone is injured and needs first aid.

If there are injuries, you should call for an ambulance (995) immediately. Even if it might seem minor, there could be internal trauma or concussions that cannot be detected by the untrained eye. If there is a serious collision/injury, do not attempt to move the people, as they may have unseen fractures.

When calling emergency services, be clear and succinct in conveying essential information and take instructions from the operators. “I am at _____ and there has been an accident involving ____. There are ____ people injured.”

The police (999) needs to be called if the accident involves a government vehicle/property, a foreign vehicle, a pedestrian/cyclist, a hit-and-run. By law, if the accident requires medical leave/hospitalisation of 3 days or more, it also needs to be reported to the police, but you can do that later.

Take Photos As Evidence

Once the necessary authorities are notified (or it is ascertained that they do not need to be called), take photos as documentary evidence of the accident.

Don’t just focus on the damage to both vehicles, but also capture wide-angle views of the area and accident site – including skid marks, debris, etc. It might be helpful to (discreetly) include the presence (or lack thereof) of a dashboard camera and number of passengers.

In your photos, ensure that vehicle license plate numbers are clear, and if the accident involves a multiple-vehicle collision, take pictures of the vehicles with direct contact with your vehicle (front and rear).

Exchange Contact Information

After you’ve finished documenting the scene, approach the other driver to exchange particulars. The information should include:

1) Full Name
2) NRIC number
3) Contact number
4) Home address
5) Name of their insurer

It is important NOT to apologise, even if you feel at fault. Doing so would not help the situation, and might put you in a vulnerable position to agree to unreasonable settlements/irrational decisions due to your guilt. Stick to the facts. If other parties are uncooperative in furnishing their particular, you should still take down their vehicle registration numbers.

If there are passengers, pedestrians or witnesses involved, you should also try to get the same information from them. Obviously, others involved in the accident may also come to you for such information.

Move Away To A Safe Location

You should not discuss how to settle the accident with the other driver on the spot. Remember, you’re still on the expressway/public road.

Now that all relevant details have been exchanged and recorded, you can arrange to meet the other driver at a safe location, or if vehicles are damaged, to arrange for a tow-truck to come and retrieve the vehicle(s).

If you’re on the expressway, EMAS would already be on the way to shift your vehicle to the nearest exit. You will still need to make tow arrangements to the workshop. Your insurer will have a list of approved tow-services, so be sure to engage authorised tow trucks, otherwise it might affect your ability to make claims.

Inform Your Insurer

 

You should notify your insurer by next working day after the accident at the latest. This is to ensure that you are able to make a claim if you need to, especially if the other party suddenly files a claim against you even after both of you agree to settle things privately.

While there are instances where you may not want to make a claim on your insurance policy, failing to make an accident report may constitute a breach of your insurance policy condition. You can agree to a private settlement, and make a report to your insurer.

Your insurer may repudiate liability, resulting in a loss of protection under your policy. You insurer may also dock your No Claims Discount (NCD) upon policy renewal, or cancel or refuse policy renewal.

Follow your insurer’s advice on steps to take next, which might include a visit to Independent Damages Assessment Centres (IDAC) for damage assessment.

Decide: Do You Want To Claim Insurance?

An advantage of moving away from the accident site is that you have time to calm down and think clearly.

If damages to both vehicles are extensive or if there are injuries, then you would want to claim on your insurance policy, since the resulting amount would likely be high.

If damages are minor and you decide to settle it privately, be sure to have the agreement in writing. While it might not be legally binding (unless you’re a lawyer or engage one), it offers a deterrent against flip-flopping on the part of the other driver.

If you’re worried or not comfortable, or both of you cannot agree on the amount, then just go through the insurer claims route. Your insurer will conduct their investigation of the accident.

See A Doctor

If you are unwell after the accident, see a doctor immediately. Be sure to keep all your receipts and medical reports. These documents will be helpful if you need to make a personal injury claim, and for claiming injury benefits from your motor insurance policy.

Read Also: What Should You Do After Getting Into An Accident?

How To Choose The Best Car Insurance And Personal Accident Policies

It’s not easy to decide which is the best car insurance policy or best personal accident insurance policy in Singapore. That’s because the definition of what is “best” differs from individuals depending on what it is that you prioritise. To help you determine which is the most suitable policy, you can use comparison platforms customised for various insurances, including car insurance and personal accident insurance among others, in Singapore.

Such platforms will help you to determine which is the best insurance policies based on your personalised requirements. For example, if what is important to you is price, then it will recommend to you affordable policies to consider. If what you want is coverage, it will recommend you policies with extensive coverage. If you want a mixture of both, it will recommend to you policies that provide the best value for money.

The best part of the platform is that it allows you to compare and buy the insurance policies you want conveniently online. So you no longer need to be forced to do your own comparison. Start comparing and buying personal accident insurance online.

This article was originally published on 13 July 2018 and updated with new information.