“What do I do if I get in a car accident?”

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where everything changes in the blink of an eye? One moment, you’re driving down the road, and the next, you’re involved in a car accident. It’s a scenario that nobody wants to experience, but unfortunately, it can happen to anyone at any time. So, what should you do if you find yourself in this frightening and unexpected situation?

In a car accident? Remember to be SAFE!

S: Safety

First and foremost, take a deep breath and try to remain calm. It’s completely normal to feel shocked and overwhelmed, but it’s important to gather yourself and focus on what needs to be done next. Your safety and well-being are the top priorities, so check yourself and your passengers for any injuries. Call 911 right away if there are any injuries.


  • Turn on your hazard lights.
  • If possible, pull your car over to a safe place. If not, stay inside with your seatbelt on.
  • Check the safety of others and provide assistance to anyone with an injury.
  • Don’t move an injured person. This can cause additional damage and should be avoided unless the person’s safety is at risk.

A: Alert the Authorities

Even if it’s a minor fender bender that you think you can settle among yourselves, it’s still important (and in some states, the law) to call the authorities no matter how small the accident is.

  • Call 911 or the local police station.
  • Avoid saying “I’m sorry.” Even if you feel guilty, don’t admit fault—especially when talking to the police. You may find out later that the other driver was actually to blame or that you share the blame.
  • Even if you don’t show visible injuries, it’s recommended to call for medical help or at least visit the emergency room or your doctor after you leave the area.
  • Be sure to file an accident report, even if police don’t come to the crash site. Depending on the state’s laws and the severity of the accident, police may not be dispatched. Filing a report puts the accident on the books and can help speed up the claim process.
“In Virginia, do I need to report a fender bender to the police?”

Any car accident with injuries or property damage is legally required to be reported. However, you do not need to report an auto accident in the following situations:

  1. If property damage to the vehicles involved in the crash is estimated at less than $1,500 total
  2. No one suffered injuries or death in the crash
  3. If the crash occurred on a private road or private property no matter the seriousness of the injuries or significance of the property damage.

While fender bender accidents do not NEED to be reported, it is a good idea to do so. Even if your auto accident is minor, the police will still respond to the scene and ask the drivers to complete an “Exchange of Information” form. This form will help you file your claim.

F: Fact Collection

Once you’ve ensured everyone’s safety and alerted the authorities, it’s time to assess the situation. You may feel overwhelmed after the accident, but stay calm and immediately document the accident as you experienced it.

Capture the following:

  1. Take pictures of your car, any other cars involved and the surrounding area.
  • Vehicles: Take photos of the make, model, license plate numbers, and insurance and registration information of all vehicles involved. Also, take photos of your vehicle from all angles, including any specific damage.
  • Scene: Take wide-angle shots of the entire scene, including the position of the cars, skid marks, debris, and traffic lights. If possible, take photos from 1–5 feet away (close up), 10–15 feet away (mid-distance), and 20 feet or more away (far away).
  • Weather: Take photos that depict the weather conditions at the time of the accident.
  • Injuries: If you or anyone else involved in the accident suffered from any injuries, it’s important to document them as well.

2. Take notes on what happened before, during and after the accident. Include details about the location, weather, road conditions and traffic control.

3. Write down the names of any law enforcement officials or witnesses who are at the scene.

E: Exchange Information

After documenting the accident, you’ll need to exchange information.

Swapping information is essential to work through any sort of claim or legal process that could result from a car accident. Be sure to exchange:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • License plate numbers
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • Insurance providers
  • Policy numbers

If you think you want to file a claim, contact your insurance agency first to report the incident and get their expertise. A good insurance agent will guide you through the claims process and provide you with the necessary steps to take. It’s important to provide them with accurate and detailed information to ensure a smooth resolution.

Remember, getting into a car accident is a stressful and challenging experience, but knowing what to do in the aftermath can make a significant difference. By following these steps and taking the necessary precautions, you can protect yourself, your passengers, and your rights in the event of an accident. Stay safe on the roads and drive defensively to minimize the risks of being involved in a collision. Your well-being is our top priority, so take care and be prepared for the unexpected.

Holley Insurance Team

A little more about Holley Insurance…

Holley Insurance was founded in 2000, and retains a core base of loyal clients. We have locations in Roanoke, Rocky Mount, and Forest, VA. As an independent insurance agency, Holley Insurance represents a carefully selected group of financially strong, reputable insurance companies. Therefore, we are able to offer you the best coverage at the most competitive price.  If you’re interested in starting a quote online or having us take a look at your current policies, click here!

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