Rookie Mistakes: Car Accidents and What To Do Once They Happen

There’s probably nothing I know less about than cars. I’ve pretty much have had to “learn the hard way” with every situation I’ve come across, and when it comes to cars, mistakes can be costly and dangerous.

Last week, I was in my first major car accident. Someone attempted to turn left in front of my car. We were going 60kph. Minus me smashing my knee off the dash, no one was hurt. The airbags were deployed in the other car, and the driver wanted to move the cars. Two tow trucks immediately arrived at the scene. Firemen, paramedics, and police arrived shortly after. The police officer assigned us a tow truck and told us they’d take us to a Collision Report Centre (CRC).

Learning the hard way (the way I learned):

  1. Freak out.

  2. Be comforted by a tow truck driver while the other driver calls the police.

  3. Don’t turn on your hazards. Watch another car accident unfold right before your eyes, like we did.

  4. Be towed to a garage. That may or may not have devilishly charming staff that make you feel like a great person (but really just want your money).

  5. Ask to be taken to the CRC. They’ll put this off until they’re almost sure you’re going to give your insurance company a big “FU” because you’re going with this random garage instead of your official dealership.

  6. Wait outside the CRC until some dude in a polo shirt who hates his job shoves a paper in your face about a rental car. He asks for your ID and credit card and assures you it’s covered by insurance. You sign a contract.

  7. Finally get to the CRC, call your mom, call your insurance. Aaaaand Hopefully you’re covered for a crappy rental car.

Learning the easy way:

  1. Turn off your car and make sure everyone is okay. You’re going to be freaked out, and the adrenaline will keep you from noticing injuries (even major ones). Check.

  2. Don’t move the cars if the total damage exceeds $1000.

  3. Call the police. Know the intersection and the direction (i.e. heading West on Finch, closest intersection Finch and Chesswood).

  4. Get the other driver’s information. You can take pictures of their liscence and insurance, or copy it down. This is what your insurance will ask for,

    1. Name

    2. License plate number

    3. Insurance carrier

    4. Insurance policy number

  5. Take pictures. Try and get every angle and include indications of speed (spilt drinks, broken pieces) and injuries.

  6. Call your mom.

  7. Talk to the police. They’ll ask for your liscense, insurance, as well as questions like how fast you were going, what the speed limit was, if there’s any drugs or alcohol involved, etc. They’re the one who decides when the cars need to be moved.

  8. Move the cars to the CRC. You can call CAA or use a tow truck to take you directly there, where both parties explain the situation and make an insurance claim. Tow trucks are paid a flat rate by the city, then your insurance will reimburse them, whereas CAA gives you a fixed number of free tows a year.

  9. Unhook from the truck in the CRC parking lot. Especially if you chose the tow truck option. They are legally obligated to do so.

  10. Follow the instructions at the CRC. The workers there will walk you through what needs to happen next.

If we knew half of what we do now, we would have been in and out of the CRC in a flash . Keep these tips in mind if you get into a major accident; it’ll save you money and time.

TL;DR: Stay calm, call your insurance company if you’re ever unsure of what to do; tow truck drivers are not your friends.