The Thursday before Christmas I was involved in a minor car accident. Someone ran a stop sign and hit my car, pushing me into a ditch. I was quite shaken, as was the driver of the other car.

In past blogs I have detailed what to do if you are ever involved in an accident. But do you think I could remember any of it? No!! My mind just shut down.   I called 911 and the emergency person was very helpful and told me the information we needed to exchange. He instructed us to go to the collision reporting centre if there were no injuries. My car was drivable so, after exchanging the information, off I went to report the collision.

When I arrived at the reporting centre I discovered that the information I had was woefully incomplete and sketchy. I hadn’t checked to make sure the information that was given to me by the other driver was accurate. I hadn’t even checked to make sure she had given me the right license plate number. The police officer shook his head and said that if the information was incorrect, and the other driver did not show up, then there was really nothing I could do, even though the accident was not my fault.

As it turned out the other driver was honest and did show up later to the reporting centre and did take responsibility for the accident. Lucky for me, because that meant that my deductible would be waived and I would be able to have a rental car until my vehicle was fixed (it has been almost a month now and I’m still waiting!!)

What I realized was how unprepared I was to deal with an accident even though, academically, I was aware of all the required steps. If one finds oneself in a stressful situation it can be really hard to remember everything, especially if one is slightly injured (as I was). 

When I was at the collision reporting centre they gave me a “Ride Check” handout and in it I found an accident reporting guide. I have filled out the information and have it in my car. I also have made copies of the guide so I can hand it to the other motorist, in case I am ever in a similar situation. 

So here’s the guide.  Print it out and keep it with you.

In the case of an accident the other driver will need to give you their:

NAME: PHONE NUMBER: ADDRESS (INCLUDING CITY): DRIVERS LICENCE NUMBER: LICENCE PLATE: (INCLUDING PROVINCE) (make sure you verify): MAKE, MODEL AND YEAR OF CAR: NAME AND NUMBER OF INSURANCE COMPANY: INSURANCE POLICY NUMBER:

WITNESSES: (THEIR NAMES, ADDRESSES AND PHONE NUMBERS)

ACCIDENT DETAILS: (DATE, TIME, LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION OF WHAT HAPPENED, INCLUDING A DIAGRAM.)

Have the other driver fill out all this information themselves and have them sign or initial the diagram.

I did not have anywhere near enough information but I was lucky in that the other driver was honest. Next time (if there is a next time) I might not be so lucky. So being prepared will make all the difference in the world.