What To Do If You Are Involved In A Car Accident

Published on 12 February 2023

Being involved in an accident can be distressing, and even if you are not injured the shock alone can leave you reeling. In that situation, it can be difficult to gather your thoughts and respond in the appropriate and lawful manner. If you are not sure of your obligations following a collision, take a look at our quick list below. We have detailed the steps you should take in the unfortunate event of you being involved an accident.

What should I do if I’ve been involved in a car accident?

1. Stop your car as safely as possible. Switch off the engine and switch your hazard lights on. Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offence so remember to stay put, as panicked as you may be.

2. Take a few deep breaths to steady yourself. No matter how small the collision, you will be in shock. Try to remain calm and take a moment to compose yourself.

3. Starting with yourself, check if you are injured, then check if your passengers are injured. 

4. When you are ready, exit your car safely, checking for any oncoming traffic.  If they are others involved in the accident, assess if they are injured also. If anyone is in pain, unconscious or bleeding, call an ambulance immediately. Don’t move anyone that is injured unless they are in immediate danger from oncoming traffic.

5. If the accident is serious, do not move the cars. If the accident is minor and the cars could possibly cause another accident, note their position on the road or take a photo with your phone, and then move them. 

6. If you have a reflective advance-warning triangle, place it on the road to warn oncoming traffic. Your hazard lights should already be on at this stage.

7. If you or another person is injured and there is no Garda at the scene, the accident must be reported to the nearest Garda station. If anyone has an injury, however small, you are legally required to inform the Gardaí within 24 hours of the accident. 

8. If the accident damages property only, call the Gardaí or give all relevant information at a Garda station as soon as reasonably possible.

9. If you think the other driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or was intentionally trying to harm you, call the Gardaí immediately and don’t engage with them.

10. You are required by law to swap details with the occupant of the other vehicle:

  • Exchange your contact details, driver licence number, vehicle registration number, car insurance, car registration number and the make, model and year of the car with anyone involved in the collision. Share your address and personal details with a member of the Gardaí at the scene
  • If a foreign lorry is involved, get the numbers on both the lorry and its trailer, sometimes they are different. Also take note of the company name on the truck
  • If no one else is involved in the accident, perhaps you caused damage to private property or a parked car, you should leave a note with your details where the owner can see it

11. Using your phone, take photos of the scene of the crash and the damage to the cars. If you do not have your phone, document the following details:

  • Date and time of the accident
  • Make, model, registration number and colour of the other car. Ask the other driver if they are the registered owner of the vehicle. If they are not, ask for the owner’s details.
  • Note whether the other driver and passengers were wearing seatbelts.
  • Weather conditions at the time of the accident. Was it raining? Foggy?
  • State of the road. Was the surface uneven? Was there roadworks taking place?Traffic lights out of order?
  • The position of the cars after the accident
  • Detail the damage to the cars involved
  • Note the detail of any injuries sustained on either side. Also make note of anyone who says they are not hurt
  • Speak with any witnesses to the accident and take their names, addresses and contact details
  • Take note of any CCTV in the area
  • Write down the details of how the accident happened while it’s still fresh in your mind

12. Contact your car insurance provider and provide them with all the details of the accident.

13. If your car has been damaged make sure to take it to a garage to get it checked and repaired. You could be putting yourself at risk if you drive it without knowing the full extent of the damage incurred.

Accidents are something we all wish to avoid, but sometimes through no fault of our own, we are involved because of the recklessness of others. Being aware of your responsibilities at the scene can protect you and ensure swift care for injured parties. If your mind goes blank on the day, call 999 or your insurance provider for advice.

Ensure that you have great cover with many additional benefits as part of your car insurance by getting a quote online with Liberty Insurance today. Be safe!