Driving advice Immediately after a car accident

It’s not something we like to think about, but car accidents happen – and it’s important you know what to do if you’re caught up in a crash. Here we’ll show you the steps you need to take immediately after a car crash to stop a bad situation from getting worse.

The car accident insurance claims page of this guide gives you advice on claiming on car insurance and your legal rights following a car crash.

Immediately after a car accident

1. Stop

However minor you think a car accident is, you must stop. In fact, failing to do so is an offence under the Road Traffic Act. 

Contact the police if someone gets hurt in the car accident

Call the police if someone was hurt in the car accident

You should make sure your car’s engine is switched off and then turn your hazard lights on to alert other road users to your presence.

2. Call 999 or 101

Take a look around and if anyone has been injured in the car accident you should call the police (and an ambulance, if necessary) as soon as possible. 

The police should also be called if the car accident is blocking the road.

Giving details after a car accident

When you're involved in a car accident you’re obliged to give your name and address to anyone else involved. 

Avoid saying sorry or accepting blame for the accident until you know precisely what happened as it could count against you later on.

You should stop and give your details if you crash into something on or near the road even if there aren't any other people involved. If you hit a parked car, for example, you should leave your details on the windscreen.

Car accidents should be reported to the police within 24 hours. Failure to do so could result in a fine, penalty points or even disqualification.

Collecting details after a car accident

After a car accident you should collect as much information as possible

After a car accident, collect as many details as possible

If possible, you should collect the following information from any drivers, passengers and witnesses:

  • names
  • addresses
  • contact numbers.

Ask the other drivers involved for their car insurance details and try to establish whether they are the registered keeper of their vehicle. If they aren’t, find out who is and make a note of their name and address.

Call 999 straight away if someone leaves the scene of the car accident without giving their details.

Other information to collect from the car accident

Here are some other important details you should try to collect at the scene of the car accident:

  • the registration numbers of all vehicles involved, plus a note of each vehicle’s colour, make and model
  • the time and date of the crash
  • a sketch showing the positions of vehicles involved
  • a description of the weather conditions, plus anything unusual you notice about the road quality or lighting
If possible, take some pictures of the car accident

If possible, take some pictures of the car accident

  • the names of any witnesses or police officers at the scene
  • a list of damage to vehicles and a description of any injuries sustained by pedestrians, drivers and passengers.

You may find it useful to take photos of the car accident for use as evidence. 

Some drivers carry disposable cameras for this purpose, but most modern mobile phones will take good enough shots to help you remember important details.

More on this...

Other sections in this guide

  1. Overview
  2. Immediately after a car accident
  3. Car accident insurance claims