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Steps To Take In A Car Accident

Crash! Dammit! Getting into an accident is no fun, but you can make the clean-up process go more quickly and smoothly if you have a plan. Just print out this checklist and put it in your glove compartment — you’ll know the right steps to take to protect yourself and and your rights.

A Few First Steps

Checkmark-Iconpull off of the road and out of traffic — your safety is the first priority

Xmark-Iconturn on your hazard lights or put out flares on the road

Checkmark-Iconcheck to see if anyone is injured — if any injuries, call for an ambulance

Xmark-Iconcontact the police to send an officer out

Checkmark-Iconlook for any witnesses who might have seen the accident

Xmark-Icondo not admit fault for the accident — keep all conversation neutral

Document The Situation

Checkmark-Icondraw a diagram of the location and position of the cars during the accident

Xmark-Iconmake detailed notes exactly about what happened — step-by-step

Checkmark-Iconinclude information about the weather, speeds traveled, and road conditions

Xmark-Icontake pictures of the vehicle positions, any damage, and the site of the accident

Checkmark-Iconget a copy of the accident report from the police

Xmark-Iconrecord the names and badge numbers of any police on the scene

Checkmark-Iconcall your insurance agent within 24 hours of the accident

Exchange Information

Xmark-Iconcontact info for other driver — name, address, phone

Checkmark-Iconcontact info for other passengers — name, address, phone

Xmark-Iconcontact info for witnesses — name, address, phone

Checkmark-Iconinsurance info — company name, address, policy number

Xmark-Iconbe sure to get information directly from the other person’s insurance card to verify

Checkmark-Iconlicense plate number

Xmark-Icondriver’s license number

Checkmark-Iconcar description — make, model, year, and color

If Your Car Breaks Down

Xmark-Icontry to make it to a well-lit and populated area before stopping

Checkmark-Iconput up the hood and set out flares or turn on your hazard lights

Xmark-Iconget back in your car, lock the doors, roll up the windows

Checkmark-Iconif you have a cell phone, call for help

Xmark-Iconif a stranger stops, roll your window down just a small bit

Checkmark-Iconask the person to call a tow truck for you

Your Accident Supply Kit

Xmark-Iconfire extinguisher

Checkmark-Iconflashlight with extra batteries

Xmark-Icondistress flag or colored cloth to hang from antenna

Checkmark-Iconflares, emergency hazard light, or fluorescent road markers

Xmark-Iconfirst aid kit and extras of any important prescriptions

Checkmark-Iconwater and non-perishable packaged food

Xmark-Icontoilet tissue

Checkmark-Iconchange for phones

Xmark-Iconinstant camera for photographing damage during an accident

Checkmark-Iconemergency blankets and instant hand warmers — for cold weather

Xmark-Iconsun shades and sunscreen — for hot weather

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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