How to Report a Traffic Accident

by Contributor

No matter how skilled a driver you are, there is a good chance you will be involved in a traffic accident at least once. It's important to know what to do in case of an accident and here's some guidelines to follow in case it happens to you.

Stop driving immediately if you are involved in a traffic accident to avoid the possibility of being convicted of a hit and run.

Exchange information with the drivers of the other involved vehicles, including driver's license number, vehicle license number, vehicle registration, insurance information and their name, address and phone number.

Call the police to report the accident and file an accident report. Although contacting the police is not required if there are no injuries, it is recommended for documentation and insurance purposes. Having the authorities at the scene helps establish the facts, should there be a dispute later on.

Make those who are injured comfortable and call for medical assistance.

Get the name and telephone number of anyone who witnessed the accident. The insurance companies will determine who was at fault and you'll be dollars ahead if you can provide a witness. It could save you an increase in your car insurance premium and possibly keep from having your insurance cancelled if the insurance company decides you were at fault.

Notify your insurance company that you were involved in a traffic accident as soon as possible.

Contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) within 10 days if more than $750 in property damage is incurred or if there were injuries or fatalities. The SR 1 report (available at DMV offices) must be filed by you, your insurance company or legal counsel.

File an accident report with authorities even if you hit an unattended vehicle and can't locate the owner. Leave your name and insurance information in a noticeable place on the other car.

Pull off the road if you wound or kill an animal and notify animal control, the local Humane Society or the authorities.


  • check Don't move your vehicle until authorities are on the scene unless its location might cause a second accident.
  • check Seek legal advice if you are summoned to appear in traffic court.
  • check Make a note of the location, accident description and time of day the accident occurred. It might be difficult to recall the exact information later.
  • check Always keep paper and pen in the glovebox.

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About the Author

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