Motoring Advice

What Should You Do If You're Involved In A Car Accident?

Jul 22, 2016

What Should You Do If You're Involved In A Car Accident?

Being involved in a car accident can leave you shocked and confused. In the panic it is very easy to forget some important steps which can reduce the stress of the ordeal. Take your time and regain your composure, stay calm, and follow some of these guidelines to ensure you come out the other side as unscathed as possible:

  • Don’t Panic: When you are flustered you can’t think straight, and it is easy to forget the most basic things. Relax! On average a person is involved in an incident once every five years, so it’s a relatively common occurrence.


  • Don’t Move Straight Away: You must stop your car and remain at the scene for a reasonable amount of time.  If it’s a serious collision, the vehicles involved should not be moved.


  • Check Everyone Is OK: Starting with yourself, then your passengers and anyone else involved in the incident (other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists etc.) if it safe to do so.


  • Get Out: Exit the car to the left hand side (nearest the roadside) if it safe to do so. If you have a pet in the car, leave it inside if possible as letting it loose could cause further trouble.


  • Give Assistance: If anyone is injured or requires help, the driver of the vehicle must offer assistance. But do not move any injured parties unless they are in immediate danger. Call the emergency services if required, and provide as much details as possible (location, number of people & vehicles, injuries)


  • Consider Other Road Users: If the accident is minor and your car is blocking the roadway or causing danger in its current position, the roadway should be marked and moved as soon as possible (watch out for leaking fuel). Alert oncoming traffic using the car’s hazard warning lights, and a reflective advance-warning triangle placed far enough away from the scene (about 20 meters) to warn approaching traffic. If the accident is near a bend, be sure to place a warning on both sides of the bend.


  • Remove Debris: If it is safe to do so as it may cause problems for other road users.


  • Call For Help: If somebody is injured the Gardaí should be contacted as well as the ambulance. 


Information you should get:

  • You should get the following information from other parties involved in the incident. If the accident also involves property, you should get the owner’s name, address and telephone number.
  • Name and address
  • Address of where the vehicle is kept 
  • Name and address of the vehicle owner
  • Vehicle registration number 
  • Motor insurance details (including expiry date of the policy) 
  • If any witnesses are also present, you should get their name, address and telephone number if there is a question of liability
  • Take photos of the scene. Try to take photos before any of the cars are moved, as well as the damage caused afterwards. Get close up photos and pictures from further away to show the location of the incident.
  • Be sure to get the name of the Garda who the incident was reported to, so you can be sure a report was filed for insurance purposes.
  • As soon as you can, be sure to write down all the facts of the incident including the date and time.

Information you should give:

If the Gardaí are present you must give the following information when requested:

  • Your name and address
  • Address where your vehicle is kept 
  • Name and address of the vehicle owner
  • Vehicle’s registration number 
  • Motor insurance details (including expiry date of the policy) 
  • If there is no Gardaí present, you must give this information to
  • The injured person (or someone asking on the person’s behalf). 
  • To the owner where property has been damaged (or someone asking on the owner’s behalf). 

* If neither options above are available, the information should be given to an independent person who was present at the accident.

* If no Gardaí is present, the accident must be reported to a Garda or at a Garda station.

* NB: Remember a Garda must conduct a mandatory test for alcohol at the scene of a crash where someone has been injured, or of a driver who has been injured and removed to hospital.

Remember most people will be worried when involved in a car accident, so be courteous and as helpful as possible . You’re likely to be shaken afterwards, so take your time before driving off again and make sure you are fully-composed.  Call your insurance company as soon as possible, and keep in touch with them for any updates. You never know when you might be involved in a car accident, so keeping these procedures could help to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.