Safety and Security…What to do After an Auto Accident

Being in an auto accident is a stressful and frightening experience. Unfortunately, auto accidents can happen at any time, but when they do, many are unprepared and unsure what to do.

The Honolulu Police Department's Traffic Division suggests if you are ever in an auto accident call the authorities if anyone is injured or if there are considerable damages which have rendered a vehicle inoperable. Stand to the side, preferably 3 to 4 car lengths in front of the vehicle on the opposite side of a guardrail or protective barrier (if possible). This will enable you to be out or range in the event any vehicles passing should collide with your vehicle.

Additionally, if you are in an accident on freeway or busy interstate, write down the other driver's information such as name, phone number, license plate, insurance carrier and drive to where it will be safe to exchange detailed information. If you have sustained injuries or considerable damage, do not attempt to leave your vehicle, instead, notify authorities and stay in your vehicle until they arrive.

  1. Move your vehicle out of traffic, only if it is safe. Pull off the road and turn on your emergency flashers to alert oncoming cars. Turn off your ignition to guard against fire. For nighttime accidents, place emergency flares or reflectors on the road; these can also be used to secure the scene of an accident.
  2. Provide and/or get immediate help if anyone is hurt. Note and have ready the location of the accident before calling for an ambulance.
  3. Obtain the names, daytime phone numbers, addresses, insurance company names, and insurance policy numbers of any drivers involved in the accident. Obtain the vehicle make/model/year information and license plate numbers of their vehicles.
  4. Obtain the names, daytime phone numbers, and addresses of any passengers involved in the accident.
  5. Obtain the names, daytime phone numbers, and addresses of any witnesses to the accident.
  6. Examine the damage done to your vehicle, as well as any other vehicles involved. Document as much information as you can, including the following:
    • Time of day
    • Weather conditions
    • Road conditions
    • Length of skid marks
    • Location and operation of street lights
  7. Make a diagram of the accident, if possible, noting vehicle location and traveling direction, and the location of any crosswalks, stop signs, and traffic signals.
  8. Do not admit fault to anyone. Any statement of fault or promise of financial settlement for damages can be used against you. You may think that you were responsible for the accident, but learn later that other drivers caused it or were equally at fault.
  9. Do not discuss the details of the accident with anyone except the authorities, your insurance agent and your insurance company.
  10. Notify the local and/or state authorities as prescribed by law.

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