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Auto Care and Safety

You Were Just in a Collision, Now What?

Be sure to always keep a current proof of insurance and a current registration card together in an easy-to-find location in your vehicle. Include medical information or instructions if necessary.

It’s a good idea to have paper and a pen so you can exchange information with other involved parties or take notes. Keep a working flashlight in your car since many collisions happen after dark. If possible, carry a set of cones, warning triangles or emergency flares in the trunk of your vehicle.

Be thorough

If you are in a collision, the most important thing to remember is to remain calm. You will think more clearly and handle the situation better. Check for injuries and call 911 if anyone is or may be injured.

Exchange information with the other involved drivers. Get the other parties’ names and driver license numbers, phone numbers, vehicle information (including license plate numbers) and insurance information. Get the contact information from any witnesses (name, phone number, etc.) If possible, take pictures of the involved vehicles and the collision scene.

Minimize damage

In a minor collision, move the vehicles out of the roadway to a safe location. Otherwise, the first collision may cause additional collisions. If the involved vehicles cannot be moved, arrange for a tow truck or other roadside assistance. Turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights to warn approaching traffic of the collision. Set out cones, warning triangles, or flares if you can do so safely.

Stay safe at all times, whether you’re exchanging information or waiting for assistance. Stand as far away from traffic as possible. Standing behind a guardrail or other barrier will give you extra protection from passing motorists.

For further information regarding what to do if you are involved in a collision, contact your local California Highway Patrol office or police department.

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