What to do After a Collision

  1. Check for injuries. 
  2. If people are hurt, tend to them and call 911. If no injuries have been sustained, move your vehicle out of the roadway to a safer location. If the vehicle(s) cannot be moved, activate the hazard lights, set out flares and call 911. 
  3. If you exchange information with the other driver, exchange: names, addresses, phone numbers, vehicle license plate numbers, insurance information including the policy number and driver license information. 
  4. Note the date, time and location of the collision and get names and phone numbers of any witnesses. 
  5. You may also wish to take photographs of the scene and damage so carry a disposable camera in your vehicle. 
  6. Notify your insurance provider and report the incident.

When to Call the Police

Always call the police when:

  • An injury or fatality is involved. 
  • The vehicles cannot be moved to a safe location. 
  • You suspect that one of the drivers is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. 
  • One of the drivers has no insurance. 
  • One of the drivers states they have no driver license. 
  • One of the drivers leaves the collision scene.

When  to File a Collision Report

If an officer is not investigating the collision (which resulted in injuries or death) you must contact the police department of the city in which the collision occurred within 24 hours. If you make no attempt to report the collision you could be guilty of a crime with penalties not less than $1,000 and 90 days in jail.

(Courtesy of the California Highway Patrol, California 2007 Road tips)