What to do in an Accident: Before, During and After - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

What to do in an Accident: Before, During and After

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Central and Eastern Washington are under severe winter weather alerts on Friday, threatening drivers with slick roads that could cause accidents, injuries and auto insurance claims. Central and Eastern Washington are under severe winter weather alerts on Friday, threatening drivers with slick roads that could cause accidents, injuries and auto insurance claims.

KENNEWICK, WA - Central and Eastern Washington are under severe winter weather alerts on Friday, threatening drivers with slick roads that could cause accidents, injuries and auto insurance claims. 

With that, the Northwest Insurance Council wants to make sure you know what to do before, during and after an accident.

"Knowing what to do immediately following an accident can reduce stress and save vehicle owners time and money," said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "Drivers also can take the headache out of being involved in an auto accident with some advance planning."

If you are involved in an automobile accident, NW Insurance Council offers the following tips to help you handle the situation effectively.

Before an accident: 

Keep a notebook and pen in the glove compartment to help you record important information about the accident. You also may want to include an inexpensive "throwaway" camera. Keep your insurance company's claims reporting phone number in your wallet or purse. Always carry your vehicle registration and insurance card. If you are allergic to certain medicines or require special medical attention, keep a medical alert card with you at all times - whether you are the driver or a passenger.

Immediately following an accident:

· If anyone is injured, call for medical assistance immediately. Provide basic first aid, but don't move an injured person. Wait for professional medical help.

· Take reasonable steps to prevent further damage to your car such as setting up flares, getting off the road and calling a tow truck.

· Call the police or highway patrol and wait for them at the accident scene.

· Write down all the key facts to help you with your insurance claim:

 

  1.  All other drivers' license and vehicle license plate numbers.
  2. Other drivers' insurance company name, policy number, agent phone number. 
  3. Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all drivers and passengers. · Witnesses' names, addresses and phone numbers. 
  4. Take photos (from several angles) of the vehicles and the accident scene. Be sure to photograph the license plate of the other vehicle(s). 
  5. Make a rough sketch of the scene and note details of the accident such as the time of day, road and weather conditions, street names and direction and speed of travel. 
  6. Call your insurance company to report the accident within 24 hours. · Get a copy of the police report. 
  7. Keep copies of all documents related to the accident. 

 

Filing a claim: Contact your insurance agent or company immediately. Ask the representative what documents are needed to support your claim. Keep records of your expenses related to the accident. These expenses may be reimbursable under your policy. Maintain copies of all your paperwork, including the police report and repair estimates.

It's also important to take appropriate safety measures.  NW Insurance Council offers these winter-weather driving tips to help you and your family get to your destination safely: 

Winter weather driving tips:

 · Before your trip, know the current road conditions and the forecast for your route and destination. Give yourself enough time to arrive at your destination in case bad weather hits along the way.

· If you're crossing mountains, take chains or other traction devices.  If possible, install studded tires before your trip.

· Stay on main roads as much as possible.  Road crews normally clear main roads and highways first.  In case of an emergency, you have a better chance of getting help on a main route.

· In winter weather conditions, avoid over-acceleration, sudden stops and quick direction changes. Do not activate your cruise control when driving on a slippery surface.

· If you start to slide and do not have anti-lock brakes, pump your brakes gently and steer into the direction of the slide.

· If you have anti-lock brakes, do not pump your brakes.  Instead, press firmly on the brake pedal and hold it down, allowing the anti-lock mechanism to work.

· Drive with your headlights on low beam when it is snowing.  Low beam provides better illumination in snow than high beam.

· Bring a fully-charged cell phone and car charger so that those waiting for your arrival can get in touch with you or you can notify them if you are running late. Avoid the temptation to use your phone while driving. Have a passenger make the call or find a safe place to pull over before making a necessary call.

· Keep your gas tank full. Stormy weather or traffic delays may force you to change routes or turn back. Also, a fuller gas tank helps prevent your car's gas-line from freezing.

· Keep an emergency winter driving kit in your car.  The kit should include blankets, water, high-energy snacks, and highway warning devices, flares, flashlights and batteries.

· Be aware of potentially dangerous icy areas such as shady spots, bridges and overpasses.  Approach these areas with caution.  These areas are usually the first places to get icy and often the ice is invisible. 

Consider towing coverage as a safeguard in the event you do slide off the road or you're involved in an accident.  Most Auto Insurance policies do not automatically cover towing, but is available for $10 to $20 more per year and provides towing for other hazards such as vehicle breakdown. Check your policy or call your insurance company or agent to verify whether or not you have towing coverage.

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