Being involved in a traffic accident is certainly high on the list when it comes to traumatic events you might experience. But would you know what to do if this was to happen to you?
If it appears that you, anyone travelling in your vehicle, the other vehicle (if one was involved in the accident) or any passers-by who might have been injured should require medical attention, contact emergency services immediately.
Moving Your Vehicle
If your vehicle is still operational and can safely be moved to the side of the road, then do so. If this is not possible, activate your vehicle's hazard lights to warn oncoming traffic.
Depending on the severity of the accident (and indeed, if you are unable to move your vehicle from the road) you should contact police. This is also necessary if any other party leaves the scene of the accident or refuses to provide their information. If you are unsure as to whether police attendance is legally required, then you should query the matter by contacting police. It varies from state to state depending on the severity and circumstances of the accident. For example, NSW law requires police attendance when someone is injured or killed, when it's suspected that an involved driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or when one party refuses to provide their personal information for the purposes of an impending insurance claim. Don't hesitate to query the necessity of police attendance so that you can ensure you've fulfilled your obligations.
It might be that towing companies will arrive on the scene at approximately the same time as any emergency services. They will offer to tow your vehicle to a mechanic for repairs, but this is entirely at your discretion. Your vehicle cannot be towed until you've signed the necessary authorisation, and this should only occur when you're in agreement as to your vehicle's destination. A towing company might have an arrangement with a specific mechanic, and this might not be your preferred car service provider. Police can authorise towing if you should be incapacitated, but this generally involves your vehicle being moved to a holding facility.
Document the accident for your insurance company (by taking photos) if possible. They will require a general summary of the circumstances of the accident, along with your personal details, as well as the details of any other vehicles and drivers that were involved. They might also be able to arrange for your vehicle to be towed to a pre approved mechanic.
Making Your Own Arrangements
If you should wish to make arrangements for towing yourself, then you need to select an end destination, which is generally a mechanic of your choosing, or one selected by your insurance provider. The mechanic might be able to arrange towing, or you can independently contact a towing company who will take the vehicle to your chosen destination.
While even a minor traffic accident can be traumatic, it's important to remain calm and ensure that you follow a process which will ensure the most straightforward outcome.
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