What to Do If You’re in a Car Accident: A Handy Checklist

Being in a traffic accident is something you will hopefully never have to deal with. But even if you consider yourself to be about the most careful driver in the world, of course other drivers might not be. So what should you do it this was to happen to you? Here's a handy checklist that can help.


Are you or anyone else in your vehicle injured? Seek immediate medical attention if needed, and it can be prudent to call an ambulance if you're concerned.

Notifying the Police

Do the police need to be notified? The requirements for notifying the police vary depending on the state or territory in which the accident occurred. Contact the local police if you're unsure, and they will inform you if you should wait for officers. They will ask about any injuries, any  damage to your vehicle, and any property damage.

Minor Damage

What's the state of your vehicle? Naturally, if the damage is minor and the vehicle is roadworthy, you can drive your vehicle home or to a mechanic. You might wish to take photographs of the damage at the scene of the accident for insurance purposes.

Moderate Damage

Is your vehicle not roadworthy and yet still driveable? Safely move it off the road and contact your insurance company. They might require that you use a preferred towing company and mechanic, or they might allow you to choose your own. Check this at the time of the accident if at all possible.

Major Damage

What about if your vehicle is too damaged to be driven? It will need to be removed by a tow  truck. In some instances unsolicited tow trucks might appear on the scene. You do not have to use their services if you don't want to. They can only remove your vehicle unless you sign a towing authorisation. Ensure that the vehicle will be removed to a mechanic of your choosing or one in line with your insurance company's instructions (stipulated in the towing authorisation), since unsolicited tow trucks can work in cooperation with a specific mechanic.

After Hours

If the accident has happened late at night, you will need to get in touch with a 24 hour emergency towing company. You might want for the vehicle to be taken to your preferred mechanic, and yet this might not immediately be possible at such a late hour. Ask the towing company if the vehicle can be stored at their depot overnight before being taken to the mechanic during regular working hours. An additional fee might be charged for this, but at least your vehicle will promptly get to where it needs to go.

Of course the first step should always be to assess and treat any injuries sustained in the accident, but it's great to know the best course of action for having your vehicle professionally removed and repaired.