Many drivers have been off the roads for several weeks or more, it’s important they take it carefully when they return to more regular driving. With car insurance premiums rising in line with vehicle repair costs,** accident prevention and awareness is becoming even more business critical. Ensuring drivers are accident management aware is key.
The AA offers an end-to-end accident management service to help get customer vehicles back on the road swiftly and with ease. Ensuring drivers are aware of the key steps they must take in the unfortunate event of an accident is critical to driver safety, as several factors can make a real difference in getting drivers back on the roads quickly.
Whether you’re a contract hire company, fleet management company, insurer or motor manufacturer, share these top tips with your drivers to make sure you’re free to concentrate on the important stuff!
Be prepared, and stay calm
Accidents are sometimes hard to avoid, irrespective of how careful drivers are. Taking the right steps immediately when the unexpected happens can prevent the situation from getting worse, helping drivers get back on the road quickly and without a hitch. Although it can be difficult in the circumstances, stay calm, stop the car, then turn off the engine, and turn on the hazard lights, before exchanging insurance details with the other drivers involved. Take note of any factors which could have contributed to the accident, such as driving conditions.
Reporting the accident
If anyone involved is injured, the emergency services should be called immediately. If not, as well as ensuring fleet managers are aware, the accident should still be reported to the police. Failure to do so could lead to a fine, penalty points, or even a disqualification. When reporting the accident to insurers, each policy will have different terms to follow, so ensure you familiarise yourself with these and act in accordance with the requirements.
Know your insurance
Be aware of insurance details, or have them to hand, so these can easily be exchanged. Remember, always let your insurer know about the accident, even if you’re not making a claim. Provide them with the registration of cars involved, name and contact details and the insurance details of the other drivers, just in case!
When exchanging details with the other party, don’t admit responsibility until you’re fully aware of what happened to protect yourself from liability. Remember to collect the name, address, phone numbers and insurance information of everyone involved.
Take photos of the surroundings, vehicle positioning and any damage where appropriate, and note down the time and date, driving conditions such as the weather and road quality, and the cars involved, including their make, model, colour and number plate. Also, establish whether there are any CCTV cameras which may have captured footage of the accident.
Reduce the chances
If you’re a company driver, your employer may have a road safety policy which lays down rules to help prevent fatigue-related accidents. Familiarise yourself with this. Be aware also that the risk of driver fatigue is highest between 2am and 6am, and again in the afternoon between 2pm and 4pm, when the internal body clock promotes sleepiness.
Kitting your car out with technology may help reduce the risk of having an accident and help you feel safer behind the wheel. Many cars are now installed with audible and visual warnings for manoeuvring the vehicle, but there is plenty more technology available to ensure maximum vehicle safety:
• Dash-cams – these record traffic ahead, providing visual evidence of any accident and can help prevent ‘crash-for-cash’ claimants from making fraudulent insurance claims
• Autonomous emergency braking – the brakes are automatically applied if sensors detect that an accident could happen
• Adaptive cruise control – automatically reducing the set speed if the traffic ahead is travelling more slowly
• Lane departure warning system – sensors and cameras pick up the car’s position on the road and send alerts if drivers veer out of lane
• eCall – a system that automatically calls the emergency services in the event of an accident
There are (thankfully rare) a few people who arrange accidents in order to make a fraudulent insurance claim, also known as ‘Crash-for-cash’. They may do this by braking unexpectedly, indicating another driver is free to go before crashing into them, or by taking out brake light bulbs, giving no warning before they stop. You can decrease the chances of being involved by keeping your eyes open and taking extra care while stuck in stop-start traffic, merging junctions and at roundabouts. Leave plenty of space in front, giving more time to stop, and be wary of erratic driving behaviours.
The AA Accident Management service uses dedicated incident coordinators to manage every aspect of each case, including repairs, liaising with insurers, legal services and uninsured loss recovery.
Direct drivers to the following for more information: