Picture this: you’re driving down the road without a care in the world and suddenly you’re unexpectedly hit from behind by another vehicle. Usually, the standard procedure would be to get out of your vehicle, assess the damage and take the insurance details of the other driver. However, unbeknown to you, the other driver has no intention of sticking around to face the music and before you know it, they’ve shot off leaving you confused, worried and potentially injured.
Being involved in a hit and run car accident can cause physical, emotional and financial stress. But while there’s no doubt this can be a traumatic experience, there are ways of dealing with an incident of this nature in order to reduce that stress. Here are our top tips for those who happen to find themselves in this rather unfortunate situation, particularly for new drivers who won’t have experienced this before.
Stop somewhere safe
First and foremost, get your vehicle to a place of safety where it won’t cause any damage or obstruction to anyone else’s vehicle. While it may be tempting to give chase to the offender, the police will consider you equally culpable if you also leave the scene of the accident, so avoid any rash behaviour and just get your vehicle out of harm’s way.
Get the other driver’s number plate
If you manage to get a good view of the culprit’s number plate, try to make a note or even memorise it. This will make it much easier for the police to track them down and this one detail could be the difference between getting justice and them getting away with it. A dash cam will always come in handy for this type of situation, too, so consider purchasing one if you don’t already have one.
Look for any witnesses
If you’re lucky, there’ll be people around who can act as witnesses once the police start to investigate. If you’re very lucky one of the witnesses may even have spotted the number plate or any identifying features such as a description of the vehicle or culprit. Ask any witnesses of the incident for their version of events and be sure to take their contact details in case they leave before the police arrive.
Call the police
Depending on the severity of the incident, the police may wish to open an investigation to try and locate the person who hit you. After all, failing to stop when you’ve hit someone is a criminal offence so the police will usually be very keen to speak to the individual.
All the information you’ve gathered will come in handy so be sure to share this with them to make locating the offender a much simpler task.
Speak to your insurance company
Call your car insurance company immediately and they’ll lay out your options and tell you what they need to proceed with any claim. If you have fully comprehensive cover, you’ll be able to make a claim, however, you’ll lose some or all of your no claims if they’re not protected. If this happens, read our guide on comparing insurance without a no claims bonus.
If your no claims discount is protected then you should be able to make a claim without affecting your no claims bonus, which is why it may be a good idea to protect your NCB if you can afford the extra costs it’ll incur.