Collision protocol 101

You’re sitting at a stop light and suddenly, BANG, you’ve been hit from behind! Aside from the shock of the impact, you are uninjured. Now what?

If you find yourself in a vehicle collision, would you know what to do? For many of us, the answer is no. Here is a quick overview of how to react in the event of a collision so you can get back behind the wheel with peace of mind.

Steps to take after a collision

  1. In an emergency or in the case of injury, call 911.
  2. If the accident is not an emergency but the damage is estimated to be more than $1,000, call the local police. Special programs may be in place in your jurisdiction.
  3. If safe to do so, move vehicles to the side of the road.
  4. Call your automobile association for a tow truck if necessary.
  5. Record important details such as time, date, location, speed of your vehicle, weather and road conditions. Draw a sketch if you can.
  6. Exchange information with those involved: driver’s licence number, address, phone number, insurance. Get the name and phone number of any witnesses at the scene, if they are willing to provide it.
  7. Answer questions from the police honestly, without blaming yourself or others. Provinces have their own rules for determining fault.
  8. Call your insurance company for additional help and information, as well as how to make a claim.

How to avoid collisions

  1. Don’t drink and drive. Seems obvious, but sadly, drunk driving kills more than 1,497 people in Canada each year.
  2. Eliminate distractions. That means don’t talk on the phone, text, put on makeup, eat, or anything else that will distract you from the road ahead.
  3. Drive defensively. Give the person behind you lots of time to stop by slowly breaking ahead of time. Check your mirrors often. Use your turn signals. Maintain sufficient distance to ensure you have room to stop.
  4. Be careful in parking lots. Sometimes we can be so intent on finding a parking spot that we don’t see other vehicles and people, especially children.
  5. Get a car equipped with a Collision Avoidance System. Consider choosing an Advanced Collision Avoidance system for your next vehicle purchase.

Tips for sharing the road with motorcycles and cyclists

Public roadways are not just for cars – they are also used by pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Did you know that these “vulnerable road users” accounted for more than one in four of the 2,077 fatalities recorded on Canadian roads in 2012, according to Canada Safety Council? The way you choose to drive could save a life. Here are some handy guidelines:

  1. Be vigilant. Always scan ahead for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. They can be difficult to spot. Be especially vigilant around intersections, and when making turns.
  2. Be patient. Everyone is trying to get somewhere! Giving into road rage is an accident waiting to happen. Children and the elderly may have trouble judging the timing and speed of traffic. Wait for them to cross the street completely before going through.
  3. Obey the speed limit. Every kilometre over the limit increases stopping distance. A small difference in travelling speed can be the difference between life and death.
  4. Leave lots of space. Two-wheeled vehicles brake more quickly than a car. You could hit them if you follow too closely. Leave a wide berth and slow down when passing a cyclist.  
  5. Observe and conform to traffic calming measures, especially in construction zones. While traffic calming and automated photo enforcement may be frustrating, they do reduce the number and severity of injuries in an accident.

More on this topic

What to do after a collision,  CAA Ontario

Learning the Roads – Cycling safety tips for bike riders and drivers, CAA Ontario

Road Safety Week 2017, Global News


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The information and advice are provided for informational purposes only. The Personal shall not be liable for any damages arising from any reliance upon such information or advice.