Here are some helpful guidelines to keep in mind…
- Don’t rush into the scene before guaranteeing your own safety. Pull over to a safe area—be far enough away from the accident to leave room for emergency vehicles and to ensure that you're not in any danger. Put on your hazard lights, and only exit your car if it's safe.
- Consider calling 911. Even if the wreck doesn't appear severe, the authorities should be notified. If you’re not sure, it’s recommended to make the call and to let the dispatcher determine if emergency assistance is needed. Put your vehicle in park before making the call. Be prepared to describe the scene carefully and provide the crash location. If the vehicles involved are smoking, be sure to mention that.
- Let those involved in the accident know help is on the way. Avoid discussing the accident with the parties involved. Limit your conversation to words of comfort, reassurance and assistance.
- Be prepared to provide a statement to the police when they arrive. Tell the responding officers everything you saw—if you don’t know something, it’s OK to say you don’t know. Leave your contact information in case the police have further questions. You may also be contacted by insurance companies or lawyers involved in a car accident claim.