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Being Involved in Road Accident

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 9 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
Road Traffic Accident Collision Bump

It is unfortunate to think that at some time in our lives we - as drivers - will either be involved in a Road Traffic Accident (RTA) or at least will be witness to one.

For many of us who have been involved in such an accident it can be a traumatic experience regardless of the severity of the injuries and for a small number it can mean the end of their driving or wanting to drive.

What is a Road Traffic Accident?

A Road Traffic Accident (RTA) is an accident that occurs as a result of a collision between a number of vehicles or indeed just one vehicle and any person on foot. Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) can sometimes be nothing more than a small bump or the scuffing of bumpers but in the eyes of the law it is an accident and should be reported unless it is so slight that the incident can be resolved amicably between the parties involved.

What to do if you are involved in a Road Traffic Accident?

There are a few things to remember should you ever find yourself involved in a Road Traffic Accident (RTA) as either the driver or passenger of a vehicle. The first thing to remember is that for the most part Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) are relatively minor with only a small percentage being severe. However you should not underestimate any injury you might sustain as the result of such an accident and medical assistance should be requested if in any doubt.

Always Wear a Seatbelt

This should be something that comes natural to you as both passenger and driver. It is also a legal requirement and the law states that you - as driver - are responsible for any passenger in your vehicle and therefore it is your responsibility to make sure everyone wears a seatbelt. It is also illegal not to have seatbelts properly fitted so if in any doubt take your vehicle to your nearest garage and have all seatbelts checked. Likewise if there are children travelling in your vehicle then they should be properly belted in or in a child seat whichever is required by law given that child's age - see more on Seatbelt Laws.

Switch off Your Engine

If you have been involved in a collision and are in a position to do so, cut off the engine as soon as you can. This reduces the risk of fire or indeed the vehicle moving from its stationary position. Many drivers - especially newly qualified drivers - who have not been involved in an accident before, forget to switch off their engine thus making the situation more hazardous.

Keep Calm

Keeping calm is perhaps something that is easier said that done. If you can remain calm then it will help the emergency services should they be called and it will also help instil calm in any other passengers. It is easy to panic and sometimes during periods of panic those who may only have minor injuries can make their injuries worse by trying to free themselves or move when it is best for them to remain still.

Try Not to Move

After a collision many passengers and drivers will try to free themselves from their vehicle. This is not always a good idea especially if the collision has resulted in any person inside the vehicle being thrown forward or violently jarred. At the very least after a collision you can expect to have some muscle tenderness and neck pain - known as whiplash - which is the result of the body being flung forward at the moment of impact and then back as the effects of the impact subside. Whiplash is mostly felt around the chest and neck where the seatbelt takes the weight of the body being moved forward at speed and prevents it from going any further.


A collision can be considered as anything from a small bump to a head on smash. If you are involved in a collision, especially one at considerable speed, then it is safe to assume that your body will have sustained some kind of injury even if it is only whiplash. If your vehicle is roadworthy after the collision and you are capable of doing so it is advisable to move your vehicle away from the road; to a hard shoulder perhaps. Do not abandon your vehicle or leave the scene of the incident as this is against the law and can leave you open to criminal prosecution as well as the negation of your insurance.

Exchanging Details

If you have been involved in an accident then you should exchange your details with the other driver who should also give you theirs. If you do not have your details and the police are not called then you should at least swap names and addresses so that details can be exchanged. Failure to give the correct insurance details is an offence punishable by custodial sentence and hefty fine.

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