After over a year of going into and out of lockdowns, here in the UK, we are now within tangible distance of the final restrictions being lifted in the near future. This summer is set to be a period of celebration, reunion and making up for lost time. No matter how many friends, family or nearest and dearest we may have, we will no longer have to pick and choose between those who we can and cannot visit – although I am sure that on occasion, we have all been guilty of using the rules as an excuse to do so. Once again, it will be possible to make journeys of any distance and for any reason, freely and without worry.

Looking back over the lockdown period, we saw unusually quiet, uncongested roads, largely as a result of the travel restrictions. It is estimated that over the initial four months of lockdown road traffic accidents dropped by almost 40%. As we re-emerge into some form of normality, it is inevitable that road traffic levels will rise again, sadly but naturally this will also mean an increase in road traffic accidents.

Moreover, how we adapt will be a large factor as to what extent traffic levels will increase by, with some predictions that they will exceed pre-pandemic levels. Will people be more persuaded to hit the road and holiday in the UK this year due to the uncertainty surrounding international travel? Will there be a slow return to public transport after being encouraged to avoid it for so long? Will we continue our newfound lockdown hobbies of walking, running, and cycling?

The likely answer to these questions is ‘yes’, and this combination of growing traffic levels, coupled with the number of vulnerable road users remaining high is a cause for concern.

In the unfortunate event that you are involved in a car accident, it is vital that you know exactly what to do next. If you take the correct steps immediately, you can prevent a bad situation from becoming even worse.

Here are the 5 things you must do immediately after a road traffic accident:

  1. STOP the car as soon as possible

You must not (by law) drive away from the scene, regardless of the severity of the collision.

  1. Check for INJURIES

Check yourself, your passengers and anyone else involved in the accident for any injuries.

Call the emergency services if anyone is hurt or if the road is blocked.

  1. REMAIN CALM

Try your best to keep calm and assess the situation exactly as it is.

Take photos and videos. E.g., the scene, damages to vehicles, injuries, weather.

  1. EXCHANGE details

You must give your name, number, and address to everyone involved in the accident; this is required by law. Ensure that you record their details too including any witnesses to the accident.

If the other driver is not the owner of the vehicle, record the information of the owner. Exchange insurance information and the vehicle registration number with the other driver.

If the other vehicle is a foreign lorry, record the numbers on both the lorry and its trailer as well as the company name.

  1. REPORT to the police

In accordance with The Road Traffic Act, you must report the accident to a police constable or police station within 24 hours, if you did not exchange relevant details with the other party involved at the time of the accident.

It is sensible to report the accident to the Police even if you did exchange details at the scene. Should the other party end not be insured, it will be important to show that you reported the accident if you decide to make a claim for road traffic accident compensation through the Motor Insurers Bureau (M.I.B). This can be done by calling 101, the non-emergency number for the police.

Lastly, the single thing that you must not do is…

APOLOGISE

You must not apologise or admit responsibility for the crash – by doing so you may not be protected from liability, even if it was not your fault.

Liability is not always obvious in road traffic accident claims and therefore it is incredibly important that you take legal advice before admitting any blame for the accident. Apologising gives insurance companies a chance to hold you partially liable and as a result you would receive a significantly decreased payout.

If you were injured in the accident and it was not your fault (or you do not think it was your fault) call Mooneerams solicitors on 029 2048 3615 for legal advice on making a personal injury claim.