Getting into a car accident isn’t any fun. From dealing with vehicle damage to being late and dealing with injuries, there is no shortage of things you have to face when you accidentally hit another car. However, one of the most uncomfortable and nerve racking things you have to do is speak to the driver of the car you just hit.
Although your conversation is likely to be short, it’s extremely important. You can ensure you have a pleasant interaction and protect yourself at the same time when you follow the tips on this list.
Determine if Insurance Should Be Involved
One of the most important topics you need to approach with the driver of the other car regards insurance. That includes making sure the other person has insurance, as being in a collision with an uninsured driver can make the rest of the conversation uncomfortable.
If repairing the damage is likely to be costly or if someone in the accident was injured, insurance should always be involved. When in doubt, you should always call your insurance, but there are some fender bender situations that may not require you to contact your insurance.
If the damage is unlikely to cost more than your deductible, or if it’s a small scratch or dent that you are unlikely to have fixed anyway, you and the other driver may decide not to involve insurance in the conversation.
Put Any Agreements in Writing
Business contracts are important for companies, but they can be important in real-life situations too. That definitely includes car accidents if you and the other driver come to an agreement that doesn’t involve insurance.
The agreement should include a statement on the agreed decision not to contact insurance and how payments will be changing hands, if an uninsured driver offers to pay for repairs. All receipts should be kept if repairs are made and paid for.
Even if you choose not to involve insurance, make sure you get the other driver’s insurance information and include it with the agreement. Give them your insurance too. That way, you’re both protected in case an important repair or injury becomes apparent days after the accident.
Don’t Admit Fault or Dish Out Blame
Is your first reaction to apologize in most situations? You aren’t alone! Just don’t do it when you get in an accident!
You may want to apologize because it’s the nice thing to do, but it can be misconstrued as an admission of guilt. If you admit to being the reason for the accident at the scene, it’s possible that insurance will go with that statement, which means you could be in for hefty future insurance payments, even if you weren’t actually the one at fault.
That doesn’t mean you should dish out blame either! Focus on the other tips on this list, like exchanging information and talking about involving insurance rather than getting into an argument about who caused the accident, even if it’s obvious to you.
Get the Other Driver’s Information
No matter how you choose to proceed, you should always get the right information from the other driver, and you should provide your information to them.
Information to collect includes:
- The other driver’s name
- Name and number of the other driver’s insurance company
- Policy number and expiration date on the insurance card
- Make, model, color, and license plate of the cars involved
- Photos of the damage on the scene
If you choose to avoid involving insurance companies because the fender bender was minor, you should also get the other driver’s phone number. That way, you can contact them if anything changes.
Keep Your Cool
Road rage isn’t uncommon. It might be something you struggle with, but it’s also something that the other driver might struggle with. Whether you are tempted to get out of your car screaming and yelling or the driver of the other car is visibly agitated and rude, it’s important to keep your cool.
If the other driver seems combative or angry, it’s a good idea to call the police right away so they can help mediate. You may also want to suggest staying in your car until they get on the scene. That way, no one says anything they will regret.
Talking to strangers can be scary, but it’s even scarier if that stranger is someone you crashed your car into. Make sure your conversation goes as smoothly as possible by communicating with them in a thoughtful, respectful way.