On average, over 6 million auto accidents occur annually on U.S. roads. With statistics this high, it's wise to be prepared by having an accident action plan in place like the following.
Create an Emergency Kit
Along with having a cell phone on you, put a notepad and pen in a kit for your car, along with a disposable camera if your phone isn't equipped with one. Other key components include basic first aid supplies, drinking water, non-perishable snacks, a blanket, and a flashlight. Also, add a set of warning triangles or cones and emergency flares.
Make Personal Safety Paramount
If an accident immobilizes your vehicle in the middle of a busy intersection or roadway, keep your seat belt fastened, turn on your hazard lights, dial 9-1-1, and stay inside until help arrives. If your car is operational, turn on the hazards and carefully drive it onto the shoulder. Put out flares, cones, or warning triangles, but don't leave the scene if the police are on their way.
Take Photos and Names
If you're able to do so safely, take photos of the scene and any damage to the vehicles involved. If there are eyewitnesses, try to obtain names and contact information. Photos and witnesses can be valuable for establishing fault.
Document Vital Information
If another vehicle is involved, exchange information with the driver. Get the driver's name, address and phone number, their insurer's name, and policy number. If the driver isn't listed on the insurance card, ask their relationship with the owner. Write down the vehicle's license plate number, along with the make, model, color, and year.
Report the Accident
Unless the accident resulted in an injury, the police may not come to the scene. If they don't, you should still file an accident report. State vehicle accident reports are available at your local police department, or you may be able to download the form on your Department of Motor Vehicles' website.