Call it an accident, traffic collision or a road crash – whatever the nomenclature, it can happen to anyone. One of these days it can happen to you, if it hasn’t already.
What should you do if the car you’re driving gets involved in a road crash? AAP Vice president Johnny Angeles, who has been driving for more than 50 or 60 years, offers these tips:
CHECK YOUR AND YOUR PASSENGERS’ PHYSICAL CONDITION. If you are conscious, check your own condition and that of your passenger/s, if any. If you and your passengers are fine, get out of the vehicle and check the other party’s situation. If anyone is injured, do not try to do anything that you are not familiar with. Seek assistance from professionals and authorities like the Philippine National Police (117), or call the nearest hospital’s emergency room.
CHECK THE SURROUNDINGS. You have to be sure of your own safety before seeking justice. There have been reports that victims are deliberately bumped by other drivers to force them to stop. Before alighting from your vehicle, make sure that you are aware of the possible danger within your vicinity. So whether you are the aggrieved party or not, it is wise to get the attention of the traffic authorities.
NEVER MOVE YOUR VEHICLE UNLESS INSTRUCTED BY AUTHORITIES. Road crashes cause traffic when they occur on major thoroughfares. With all the honking and angry drivers yelling you to move your vehicle, you will be tempted to simply give in to their demands. However, unless told by traffic personnel, do not move your vehicle.
On the other hand, some traffic officers urge the drivers involved to take photos that will help the investigating authorities to figure out how the incident happened. Take photos of your own with your cell phone to support the claim for damages that you may file later.
STAY CALM WHEN TALKING TO THE OTHER PARTY. After a collision, the parties involved usually immediately blame each other. Nothing will be resolved if you yell and argue angrily with the other party or with the investigating police. Stay cool, calm and collected.
LOOK FOR A WITNESS, IF ANY. Since a road crash usually results in a “your-word-against-mine” situation, look for a witness or witnesses who can help the investigators determine the driver responsible for the accident.
INFORM THE INSURANCE COMPANY WHERE YOUR VEHICLE IS INSURED. If your car is covered by comprehensive motor vehicle insurance, be sure to inform them about the incident at the earliest possible time.
ALL DOCUMENTATION AND DISCUSSIONS SHOULD BE DONE IN FRONT OF AUTHORITIES. To ensure that every discussion and documentation would be followed religiously (e.g. settlements, filing of complaints, insurance claims, among others), these should be done by the parties involved in the presence of the authorities Documents, such as the traffic incident report, should be signed by both parties, if so advised.
IF YOUR VEHICLE IS DAMAGED AND NEEDS TOWING, CALL AAP. The Automobile Association Philippines provides Emergency Roadside Service (ERS) 24/7 to AAP members and non-members. AAP’s ERS hotline is 723-08-08.