How to be ready for anything: Car Accidents

We don’t want you to worry about car accidents, but its always good to be prepared for anything! Whether it’s good driving habits or accident avoidance, here are a couple ways to make sure every drive is a safe one.

Back to Basics

Think back to your days in driver’s ed, where you picked up all those safe driving techniques.

Use your mirrors and signals

Don’t forget to check (and double-check) your side mirrors and use your signals before making a lane change, so you can avoid a sideswipe. Checking your rear-view mirror when coming to a stop is important as well to make sure the car behind you is slowing down. Be sure to let other drivers know your intentions by using your signals when making any turns.

Turn on your lights

Being able to see what’s ahead of you is just as important as being seen by other drivers. In Canada, all cars come with daytime running lights which help with visibility during the day. But in the evening, when the sun is setting, make sure you switch on your full headlights.

Maintain a safe distance and speed

Keeping a minimum 2 second gap between the car in front of you will give you more time to react in an emergency. You’ll also want to adjust your speed to changing conditions and observe the road at least 20-30 seconds ahead of you. You should always follow posted speed limits, especially in residential areas. Again, the faster you’re travelling the less time you have to react, and the more damage that can be done in an accident.

On the daily drive

Keeping you and your car in tip-top shape can keep you prepared for what lies on the road ahead.

Keep your car healthy

Routine maintenance ensures that your car is working as it should be. It’s important to have a check-up complete by your mechanic every time you go in for an oil change (recommended twice a year) – be sure to keep an eye on tire and brake wear!

Keep yourself healthy

Being alert during the drive is key – if you do end up hungry or tired while on the road, its best to pullover and fill your “empty tank” or get some shut-eye (where it is safe and legal to do so, like a highway rest stop).

Minimize distractions

Load up your playlist, turn up the tunes and set the destination! Just make sure your full attention is on the road once you start driving – keep that phone tucked away until you get to where you’re going. Not only is using it while driving illegal, which comes with a price tag that will impact your insurance, but you could hurt someone in an accident.

In the worst case…

Even if you do everything right, sometimes things still go wrong. Don’t worry though because you can still be ready when this happens. You can never be too prepared. After an accident, your mind is typically racing a mile a minute, so it’s a good idea to keep a checklist of ‘things to do after an accident’ in your glove box, as a refresher.

First steps

As outlined in our checklist, you should first turn your car off and put on your hazards (or 4-ways), make sure that you are okay and that it is safe to pull over. We know this is easier said than done, but try to remain calm so you can have a clear mind when getting details, talking to the police (if needed), or contacting a tow truck company.

Have your cellphone ready

Although you shouldn’t be using your phone while driving, having it around in case of an accident is important for a number of reasons. You can use it to get in touch with authorities (if necessary), and record key details by capturing photos of the scene, the other individual’s car, and their license plate. Just remember to use it once the vehicle has been shut off.

Contact insurance

No matter the severity of the damage, it’s always important to let your insurance company know that your vehicle has been in an accident. You’ll want to send them the details of the accident including, time, place, date and the other party’s information, so they can determine who is at fault and help you with your claim. It’s also important to contact the police and fill out a report if there are any injuries or the driver is impaired, if any pedestrians or cyclists were involved, if there is more than $2000 worth of damage, or if any city property is damage.

Filing a claim

When you contact your insurance company, be sure to have the details of the accident and your policy number ready (this will speed up the process of settling your claim). Filing a claim may vary from province to province, so it’s important to know what forms to fill out or who to call. If you're auto is insured with us, call 1-844-SONNET4 (1-844-766-6384) at any time, and we will be there to help you.

What happens next?

Accidents can take a toll on you emotionally, so once your claim is submitted it’s important to take some time to put your mind at ease. If there’s damage to your vehicle, use your insurance company’s preferred vendors for any repairs or rentals. They’re there to help and are preferred for a reason!

Here’s a checklist of what to do after an accident.

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