What to Do After a Rear-End Collision

You approach a crosswalk and see an old lady starting to cross the street. You stop, but the car behind you doesn't. You get rear-ended. What happens next?

Rear-end collisions are the most common kind of car accident. Out of the 6 million car accidents that happen on U.S. roads every year, over 40% of them are rear-end collisions, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

As common as rear-end accidents are, it's important that drivers know how to handle them. Find out what to do if you’re rear-ended, as well as what to do if you're the one who accidentally rear-ends another car.

I Got Rear-Ended

Rear-end collisions could happen any number of ways, in any number of places. You could be stopped at a stop sign, red light, or crosswalk, when the driver behind you doesn't stop or they take their foot off the brake pedal a little too soon. Follow a few simple steps after you're rear-ended to help ensure everyone's safety.

What to Do When You're Rear-Ended

  1. Take a deep breath, and don’t panic.
  2. Check for injuries. Seek medical attention for those injured.
  3. Call the police and report the accident.
  4. Take pictures and document the positions of the vehicles. Explain to the police officer how the accident occurred.
  5. Get a copy of the accident report.
  6. Contact your insurance company. While the other driver's car insurance company will likely pay for the damages that result from a rear-end collision, your coverage could apply, too. If you live in a No-Fault insurance state like Florida, your personal injury protection insurance would apply. If the at-fault driver does not have liability insurance or cannot be identified, your uninsured motorist auto coverage could help pay for medical and related expenses you incur. Medical payments coverage is an optional coverage that could also help pay for medical or hospital expenses incurred by you and those insured under your policy, regardless of who is at fault. If you have collision insurance that coverage may apply to help cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle.

I Rear-Ended Someone Else

There's no such thing as the perfect driver. Accidents happen. As common as rear-end collisions are, there's a chance you will be (or have already been) involved in a rear-end collision. If you accidently rear-end someone, you'll want to follow the same steps you'd take after being involved in any other type of car accident.

What to Do If You Rear-End Another Car

  1. Take a deep breath. Don't panic and do not flee the scene of the accident.
  2. Check for injuries. Seek medical attention for those injured.
  3. Call the police and report the accident.
  4. Take pictures and document the positions of the vehicles. Explain to the police officer how the accident occurred.
  5. Get a copy of the accident report.
  6. Contact your insurance company. Your bodily injury and property damage liability will help pay for the other driver's medical expenses and vehicle damage.

Tips for Avoiding Rear-End Collisions

You can't predict what other drivers will do, but you can take precautions to help ensure you're not involved in a rear-end collision. Use these tips to keep a "space cushion," or distance around your vehicle. You'll give yourself more time and more options to react when the unexpected occurs.

Leave at least two to three car lengths of space between you and the car in front of you. Follow at a safe distance and increase this distance if road conditions are slippery.

  • Avoid all forms of distracted driving, including eating, talking on the phone, or texting!
  • See the big picture. Look for slowing traffic beyond the car in front of you.
  • Approach stop signs and red lights gradually. Slow to a stop instead of slamming on your brakes. A hard brake could surprise the driver behind you.
  • Check your brake lights and turn signals frequently to make sure they're working.

Do you have the right car insurance coverage to handle the aftermath of a rear-end accident? Find out! Call 1-877-GO-DIRECT, Click, or Come in today to learn more!

What to Do After a Rear End Collision
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