A question police often get is  “What do I do if I’m in a car accident?” Sergeant Gene Page, with the Bentonville Police Department, explains the best way to comply with state law and lessen the trauma that comes with car wrecks.  

Bentonville police worked 241 car accidents in March alone. So what do you do if you’re in one? If anyone is hurt call 9-1-1 immediately. Whether you’re injured or not– state law obligates you to stay on scene and call the police. Then- if your car is drivable – do what you’ve always been told not to do. 

“I was even told that when I first started driving. “Do not move that car!” But that’s not necessary. Go ahead and get yourself to safety, move your car out of the way, police officers when they get on the scene will be able to figure everything out for you,” said Sergeant Gene Page, with the Bentonville Police Department.

While waiting for police,  make sure you have your license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance ready.

“These are the items the police officer is going to need. We’ll give these to him or her and then I can take of the things I need to do,” said Sgt. Page. “Now’s the time to make those phone calls to your family, your friends, your coworkers, let them know you’re okay, you were involved in an accident and you might be delayed. This is also the time to take photos. Once you’ve got your vehicle off the road, now you’re safe, the officer has all the information she or he needs, now is the time to start taking those photographs of the damage and the injuries for your insurance company.”

Car accidents can be very chaotic. One thing to remember is you don’t want to make any abrupt statements to the other driver.

“Keep those statements to yourself. Only talk to law enforcement and your insurance agent, you don’t want to say or make any statements that could implicate you at being at fault because, in fact, you may not be at fault,” said Sgt. Page.

At this point,  if your car is good to go, so are you. If not, the officer on scene will get you in touch with a towing company. The final step is to get your accident report number.

“Most officers will get you the number before you leave but just in case you do ask your officers before you leave ‘Can I get the accident number?” And that will have all the information about the other driver and it can verify insurance and other policies for you.” said Sgt. Page. “If you follow these steps you’ll reduce the chances of being hurt, you’ll get back on the road, and lessen the amount of trauma of what can be a terrible day.”

Whether you’re a seasoned or new driver, this information will help reduce the stress you feel during a car wreck.