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What should you do following a road traffic accident? [Updated for 2020]

Being involved in a road traffic accident can be very stressful and it is important that, insofar as you can, not to panic but to carefully record all relevant information that will help you resolve matters.

Check for injuries  

The first priority of course must be to ensure that no one has been injured in the accident so, obviously, you should check out both yourself and any passengers you have in your vehicle and then confirm whether or not any other driver, pedestrian, motorcyclist or cyclist who was involved in the accident, is injured.  It is important that you do not move any injured party, unless they are in danger from oncoming vehicles.  You should call the emergency services informing them of the location of the crash and the number and severity of any personal injuries sustained.

Should you move your vehicle?

If it is a serious motor accident, particularly if there are personal injuries involved, you should not move any vehicles but, instead, you should place a safety triangle approximately 60 feet behind the car nearest the oncoming traffic and await the arrival of the emergency services.

However, if the accident is a minor one, you should endeavour to move all vehicles out of the way of oncoming traffic:  

Following a road traffic accident there is critical information that you should record and, in particular:

  1. The name, address and phone number of the drivers of other vehicles involved; 
  2. The details of the insurance companies and policy numbers covering other vehicles involved; 
  3. Details of the make, model and colour of all other vehicles involved;
  4. Details of any Gardai that attend the scene;
  5. Take photographs of the scene.  It is very helpful that most people now carry a mobile phone with a built-in camera and you should use this to take as many photographs as possible of the position of the vehicles and all other relevant pictures that may assist in establishing liability for the accident;
  6. Do not admit liability. It is important that you do not discuss liability with any of the other drivers at the scene and leave such issues to your insurance company or your solicitor or your personal injury solicitor, if injuries have been sustained.

Just remember that the more information you secure at the scene, the easier it will be for the professionals involved to act on your behalf.

Author: Malcolm Fraser

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