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When you are involved in a car accident, it is likely that you will feel guilty, no matter what happened. However, it is important that you don’t apologise or admit guilt. It is a perfectly natural reaction, but it can negatively affect you later.

Even if you think you caused the accident, you don’t know all the facts yet. It could turn out further down the line that the other car had a fault (such as broken brake lights), or there was a third factor (such as road conditions), that means you weren’t to blame for the accident. However, an apology could be seen as an admission of guilt, which can be used against you in seeking compensation, and invalidate your claim.

Regardless of who is to blame and the severity of the accident, you should always take these steps following a collision. Firstly, stop your car as soon as possible – it’s illegal to drive away, no matter how minor the collision or whose fault it was. Turn the hazard lights on and check yourself and passengers for injuries, as well as anyone else involved. Remove everyone from the vehicle unless injuries prevent this and make sure they’re in a safe place. If anyone is injured, dial 999 for an ambulance. Otherwise, if the accident has caused the road to be blocked, if you suspect foul play (i.e. the collision was on purpose), or if you think alcohol or drugs may be involved, be sure to call the police.

You must be sure to exchange details with others involved – make sure to get their full name, address, and car registration number. Also, it can be very useful to keep a record of what happened. Human memory can be faulty, so write down details whilst it’s still fresh, or even take pictures if it’s safe to do so.

8 Top Tips On What To Do After A Car Accident

  1. Stop the car as soon as you can - it's against the law to drive away, no matter how minor the collision or whose fault it was
  2. Switch off the engine
  3. Turn your hazard lights on - this is the button with two red triangles on your centre console
  4. Check yourself and then your passengers for any injuries
  5. Check that there are no injuries to anyone else involved in the incident and make a note of this even if everyone is okay
  6. Dial 999 or an SOS phone to call an ambulance if anyone is injured or the police if the road is blocked, you believe drink or drugs are involved, or you suspect the collision was on purpose
  7. Unless any injuries prevent it, remove all pets and passengers from the vehicle and make sure they're taken to a safe place
  8. Exchange details with anyone involved - name, address, car registration number

And always remember, don’t apologise or admit fault! You don’t want momentary guilt to invalidate your insurance claim.