Today it almost seems like having a minor collision is only important to those who actually collide and their insurance company. There is no requirement to report a collision to the police and other motorists can't wait for you to get out of their way. In fact, if you don't get out of the way, you are at significant risk of causing or being involved in another collision.
If you are involved in a minor collision, ensuring your own safety post crash likely means moving your vehicle off of the road and out of the path of other traffic. You are probably the only one that is going to investigate your collision scene, so leaving the vehicles on the roadway may not help you and will cause problems for others.
Once you have done that, your next important concern is to identify and record the contact information of any witnesses. Even scribbling down the licence plate number of the vehicle that was following behind you before they disappear may be enough. If you read case law on collisions, you will quickly see that an independent witness to the event can be extremely valuable.
Now is the time to exchange information with others involved, take pictures, make sketches, write notes about what happened and then report to your insurer. Do all of these things as soon as you reasonably can, especially your notes. The sooner they are recorded the more weight can be placed on them as being accurate.
The author is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit www.drivesmartbc.ca.
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Tim Schewe has been writing his column for most of the 20 years in his traffic enforcement service in the RCMP. It was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and now Castanet.net. Schewe retired from the Force in January of 2006, but the column became a habit and continues.
E-mail him your questions or concerns: [email protected]
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