There is no such thing as a car accident, only driver mistakes.

Drivers do make mistakes though and sometimes a driver's mistake can cause a car accident.

Radio reports of car accidents often say 'The vehicle went out of control'. Vehicles only go out of control if they are being driven. It would be a lot more accurate if the radio report said, 'The driver of the vehicle lost control'. They probably use the first phrase for fear of litigation from one or both parties in the accident.

What to Do In a Car Accident

Most car accidents only cause damage to the vehicle. The driver and passengers may be shaken, but are not seriously harmed.

It is vital to stay calm. This is very difficult because of the extra adrenaline that your body releases in this situation. It is important to be aware of the effects the adrenaline has. Your perceptions are enhanced after any car accident, your sense of time slows down and your breathing and heart rate both increase. You may find difficulty speaking and you may be shaking. All of these are entirely normal.

Stage 1

Check that you are not injured

Check your passengers are not injured

If people are injured, do not move them

Call an ambulance, if necessary

Stage 2

Climb out of the car if you are able to

Check that other drivers can see the accident – it might be just around a blind bend

Check the driver of the other car – Make sure you know WHO was driving

Check the passengers of the other car.

Stage 3

Check the damage the car accident has caused to your own vehicle

Check the damage to the other vehicle

Phone the police – They probably will not be very interested, but your insurance company will require a police report number

Leave the cars where they are – The police cannot assign blame if any car involved in the accident has been moved

Take photographs – Use your phone, if necessary, try to photograph the other driver, unobtrusively

Ring a friend or relative – You will need the moral support over the next hour or so

Stage 4

Avoid arguing with the other driver – It might have been their fault but they are not going to admit it

Direct traffic safely around the car accident

Wait for the police to arrive

Ask the other driver for their insurance details, address and vehicle registration plate number

Stage 5

When the police arrive explain, calmly, what happened

If the other driver has been uncooperative, make sure the police officer gives you the details the other driver that you will need for your insurance company

Stage 6

If your vehicle is not road-worthy after the car accident, you will need to arrange for a tow truck to take it to a garage

You will need to arrange a lift home

Stage 7

Contact your insurance company – They know the drill and will tell you what to do next

Take any documents the police have asked for to the police station

Stage 8

Learn from the car accident – What could you have done differently? How could you have avoided the incident at all? At least one of the drivers made a mistake, was it you? Is there any way you could have expected the other driver to make the mistake he or she did make?

Stage 9

Retrace your route as a driver. Face the natural anxiety at the scene of the car accident and overcome it

Types of Car Accidents

Rear end shunts – These car accidents are caused by the car behind driving too close

What can you do to decrease the chance of it happening to you?

If a driver behind you is too close, slow down, remember he cannot stop, so you can only touch your brakes, unless it is a real emergenc

Side-Swipes – These car accidents usually occur at roundabouts, traffic islands – Caused by drivers changing lanes

What can you do to decrease the chance of it happening to you?

Be aware of all the traffic around you and anticipate foolish driver behaviour. Do not be stubborn, give way and think of the annoyance you avoid by avoiding the accident. Remember, not all drivers are as good as you.

Head-On – These car accidents are caused by one driver being on the wrong side of the road

What can you do to decrease the chance of it happening to you?

These are the accidents that pose the greatest threat to your life. Work hard to avoid them and live longer.

Expect drivers to be coming at you on the wrong side of the road, cutting corners or running wide. On any bend you can reduce the risk of a car accident by keeping well to your own side of the road. Drive next to the verge, not next to the center line.

Expect other drivers to be overtaking on blind bends and hills. Expect impatience in others and accommodate it in your own driving.

Front to Side – Often Caused by drivers running red lights

What can you do to decrease the chance of it happening to you?

You may have a green light, but it will be no use to you dead. Never assume that, just because you would stop at a red light that every other driver will. Drivers of stolen vehicles often cause car accidents because they do not care about the car they are driving. It is your job as a driver to make sure that fools do not run into you.

Causes of Car Accidents

Drivers cause car accidents. Period.

Driver fatigue, through driving for too long without a break or from lack of sleep is one major factor in many car accidents.

Driver dehydration causes irritation and a loss of judgement

Driver distraction in the form of eating, drinking or smoking cigarettes means your full attention is not on the road. Using a phone while driving is illegal in many countries. Even playing music so loudly that you cannot hear what is happening around you can cause car accidents, too.