In lieu of a recent minor fender bender that I was involved in, it was brought to my attention that accident procedure is a topic that I actually am not all that familiar with, as I’m sure is the case with many young drivers. The entire ordeal was a fumble-fest, and with January roads still icy, the chances of an accident are still higher than usual.

Step One

Move to a safe area if you can. If you aren’t injured and have the ability to move your car, that should be your first order of business. Move it to the shoulder of the road. If you can’t, flip on your hazards to warn other drivers that you won’t be moving anytime soon. Be sure that your vehicle is totally stopped. Take a moment to relax and check to be sure it is safe to get out of your car.

Step Two

Check on the others involved. Any injury should be checked upon. There’s a good chance that neither you or the other driver is a health professional, so it is better to be safe than sorry. Even minor dizziness or aches should be checked. Call 911 if there are any major injuries.

Step Three

Call the police to the scene. Even in minor accidents, a police accident report is essential when dealing with your and the other drivers’ car insurance company. Cooperate fully, but avoid admitting fault or blaming others. Let the police decide objectively and determine fault.

If police can’t make it to the scene, you can file an accident report through your state’s DMV.

Step Four

Try to gather as much information as you can, including:

-Driver and passenger names

-License plate numbers

-Insurance information

-Makes and models of all vehicles involved

-Contact info for an eyewitness, if available

-Location of the accident

-The name and badge number of any responding officer

Step Five

Document the scene. If you have a smartphone with a camera, take a few photos of the scene. These could come in handy when dealing with your insurance company.

Step Seven

Make your claim. If you aren’t sure who to call, checkyour insurance card for your insurer’s contact information.

Been in a major accident and are in search for a new car, but don’t have good credit? Check out to begin your search for a new car.