Post-Crash Composure

Screeching tires. A thunderous crash. Shattering glass.

If you’ve ever been involved in an auto accident, these sounds may be all too familiar. You may also remember feeling angry, panic-stricken and uncertain of what to do afterward.

By following a few simple steps after an accident, you can prevent additional injuries, reduce costs and expedite vehicle repairs.

“Auto accidents can be a frightening experience,” says Jim Brown, assistant vice president and manager, Material Damage. “But the key is to stay calm, contact the police and collect the appropriate information from the other drivers involved in the accident so that your claim can be resolved efficiently and effectively.”

And, it's always best to be prepared. One in every eight drivers will have a car crash this year, according to the National Safety Council. If you’re one of those unlucky drivers, Erie Insurance offers these tips for keeping your composure:

  1. Pull over. Pull your vehicle off the road and make sure it is out of harm’s way.
  2. Check for injuries. Check to make sure no one is injured. If so, call 911.
  3. Call the police. No matter how minor the accident, make sure you call the police to report the accident. This will help to expedite your claim later on.
  4. Exchange insurance information. Check the date on the other driver's insurance ID to make sure it’s not out of date. As backup, record the other driver’s phone number, address, license plate number and the make and model of each car involved. Don’t discuss who is at fault — leave that to the investigators.
  5. Record the details. Immediately record the details of the accident including the date, time, location and weather conditions. It’s a good idea to keep a disposable camera in your glove box — that way you can take photos of your vehicle from every angle.
  6. Talk to witnesses. If you notice any witnesses, take down names and phone numbers.
  7. Obtain a copy of the police report. After the police have completed the accident report, ask for a copy. Write down the officer’s name, department and incident number.
  8. Call your insurance company. The day of the accident, when everything is fresh in your mind, contact your insurance company to report the details.

Print a copy of Erie Insurance’s guide, What to Do in an Auto AccidentPDF, and keep it in your glove box for future reference.

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