Preparing for the worst – Planning for accidents

“I just froze, I had no idea of what to do. In my panic I scanned my thoughts for any piece of advice I had ever received about dealing with a car crash, but I couldn’t think of anything”. Those are the words of a shaken Adelaide resident who was involved in a minor vehicle collision earlier this year. The unfortunate fact is that very few people are in fact prepared for the worst and even fewer have a fool proof company procedure for dealing with collisions or car accidents. With all of this in mind and Christmas around the corner, we decided that this week we would focus on accident management and related driver advice.
 

Standard advice

  • Stay calm and stay out of the way of other traffic.
  • Switch on the vehicle's hazard lights.
  • Check on others involved in the accident and if necessary call emergency services on 000.
  • Don’t accept liability or get involved in accusations with others.
  • Gather witness details.
  • Wait until police arrive if the have been summoned.
  • Remember the three vital pieces of information for any claim.
       - Name of other driver/s
       - Other driver/s residential address
       - Other driver/s registration
  • Take photographs of any damage using a camera or even your mobile phone.
  • Call your roadside assist provider if your vehicle is not capable of taking you home.
  • If you cant lodge the claim immediately write down what happened anyway as it will be fresh in your mind.

In addition to this checklist, you as the fleet manager will need to supplement these tips with company specific information.

Company specific information

  • Contact for Insurance provider.
  • Contact information of roadside assistance provider.
  • The fleet managers emergency contact.
  • In some cases insurance and roadside are managed by a fleet provider. In these cases the fleet provider should be the first point of contact. This is the case for accident managed Fleetcare customers.
     

Promoting the message

While many things can be done to train drivers in ways which avoid accidents it is still important to teach them what to do when an accident actually happens. Promoting the company’s procedure on post accident management should be done consistently and the core of the message should be delivered long before the employee uses a company car. In addition, the car should have a leaflet with the above bullet points stored either under one of the seats or in the glove compartment. Like all other employee information it is of paramount importance that the information be repeated at regular intervals (message boards, refresher meetings etc.).
 

Final thoughts

Sitting down with drivers and fleet professionals and planning for the worst can be difficult as the process feels counterintuitive and some of the finer planning points may involve some decisions on things people aren’t happy thinking about. Despite this, planning for these eventualities can bring some very serious and tangible rewards and a well considered plan can save lives, stress, property and time. In the end, those are some of the most valuable assets we have.

Do you have an accident plan?
 

Do you discuss what to do in the event of an accident?
 

Please comment below.

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