Accidents happen, but what you do immediately after is what determines how well you bounce back from them. Being prepared and knowing what to do after a collision will save you from undue anxiety, not mention saving time and money. Equally important is already knowing about a reliable towing service you can call in an emergency.
Read on to learn all about what you should do if you’re involved in a wreck.
1. Inspect the Scene
Check to see if you or anyone else involved in the accident has been injured in any way. It is imperative that you address your safety before trying to exchange any information or contact insurance companies. Make sure your vehicle is in a safe place away from traffic before making any calls to prevent any more accidents from occurring.
2. Call Law Enforcement and Emergency Responders
According to the North Carolina Department of Insurance, there are two major contacts that people should call immediately after a car accident: the police and your insurance company.
Call the police before anyone else because they can also send paramedics your way to take care of any injuries. Do not exchange any information with the other driver in the accident; wait for the police to arrive and take everyone’s information down in an official accident report.
Without this accident report, it would be difficult to get covered by insurance. Once the police arrive and issue their reports, write down the other driver’s name, address, license plate number, insurance information, and phone number. Take photos of your vehicle before having it moved anywhere.
3. Call Your Insurance Company
Once you are safe and have received a report from the police, call your insurance company. Do not admit fault for anything; simply report that you have been in an accident and provide information such as the location, photos of your vehicle, and the other driver’s information. You may need to call the other driver’s insurance company as well. Let your insurance agent know about any injuries sustained and information about the official accident report the police gave you.
4. Reach Out to a Professional Towing Service
Before contacting a professional towing service, do some quick research about their history, reputation, and customer service. Check reviews on websites like Yelp to see what previous customers have said about their experiences.
Many customers who have received poor service tend to include in-depth accounts about their experiences to warn others. Trustworthy companies tend to have long histories in their areas, such as Dean’s Wrecker Service, which has been operating in Raleigh, North Carolina since 1985. Look for reliable services that have been running for many years as opposed to newer companies without much experience.
5. Watch Out for Wreck-Chasers
Wreck-chasers are predatory towing companies that actively search for accidents and rush to the scene to scam drivers with their overpriced “services.” They often listen to police radio to figure out nearby accidents. What makes them dangerous is the unpredictability of what they will do to your vehicle once it is in their possession.
One tactic used by wreck-chasers is taking vehicles to auto repair shops that the driver has never heard of and charging them unreasonably high prices for repairs they did not ask for. Another tactic is bringing vehicles to storage units without proper security, thus putting them at risk of being robbed, damaged, or stolen. Therefore, do not give anyone your vehicle without getting a record of the service that includes information about where it is being taken and how much it will cost.
Some wreck-chasers will try to push their services onto drivers who just need to get their car moved away from highway traffic or work zones. Keep in mind that the North Carolina Department of Transportation provides free work zone towing for wrecked vehicles that are stuck in highway work zones. However, they charge for moving cars anywhere else. If your car is already in a safe place away from traffic and dangerous work zones, contact a professional towing service.
Your safety is the number one priority after a car accident, so check yourself and others involved for injuries that you can report to emergency responders when you call law enforcement. Do not exchange any information with the other driver until the police arrive and provide an official report.
Also, be wary of predatory wreck-chasers that arrive at the scene and pressure you into accepting their services. Instead, research local towing services before giving your car to anyone. Never allow anyone to move your vehicle without receiving a record in writing about where it is going and how much the service will cost.
Car accidents are stressful events; however, knowing how to react in the case of one will make this process easier to navigate.