First, a few BEFORE tips to make an accident less likely to occur or easier to deal with if it does:
- Keep your vehicle well maintained, especially brakes, tires, windshield wipers, and light bulbs. And of course, drive safely and defensively, with your seat belts on and your cell phone off or connected to a hands-free device. The best way to deal with an accident is to not have one.
- Read your car insurance policy before you need it. Make sure you have the coverage you need for collision repair, rental car reimbursement, and vehicle replacement in the event your vehicle is declared a total loss. Understand what is covered and what is not. You don't want to be surprised if you suddenly need to use your insurance.
- Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. Such items as safety flares, first aid supplies, pencil and paper, and a flashlight, can be crucial in the event of an accident. (Piercey Toyota Scion offers emergency road kits in our Parts Department). It's also a good idea to have an inexpensive or disposable camera if you don't carry a camera-equipped cell phone.
- Car accidents can leave the most level-headed motorist shocked, stunned, and more than a little shaken. Try to calm your nerves. Make sure everyone involved is OK, and call 911 if they aren't. Turn on your vehicle's hazard warning lights. Determine the safest place to be, and get everyone there (do not move anyone who appears to be seriously injured).
- If the accident is anything more than a "fender-bender", or if a hit-and-run driver is involved, call the police. Wait for them to arrive; do not leave the area. If it is safe to do so, take pictures of the damage to your car and any other vehicles involved and the area of the accident. Then, if possible, move the vehicles involved to a safe spot out of the flow of traffic.
- Exchange necessary information with the other driver(s). Don't discuss the details of the accident with anyone except the police or your insurance agent. Be sure to write down the name, address, phone number, license number, insurance information, vehicle license number and description of the vehicle for every driver involved. Record each vehicle's VIN number; it's visible on the dashboard looking through the driver's side windshield from the outside (it should also be on their insurance card). Also write down contact information for all witnesses. If you aren't able to take pictures, try to make some notes about the damage to each vehicle and the circumstances of the accident. It may be difficult to remember details later on.
- Do not drive your vehicle if it cannot be operated safely. If you need a tow, call the Piercey Toyota Collision Repair Department at (408) 240-1400; we can arrange towing as well as car rental. Our recommended tow service is Unique Towing; they can also be reached directly at (408) 249-5253 twenty-four hours a day.
- Contact your insurance agent to report the accident, even if it wasn't your fault. You may also contact the Piercey Toyota Collision Repair Department at (408) 240-1400 to begin the repair process. You can bring in your vehicle or have it towed to Piercey Toyota for a free estimate. Even if your insurance provider directs you to another shop; you have the right to go to the facility of your choice for estimates or repairs. Our collision repair service adviser will assist you with all needed documents, arrange for a rental vehicle if desired, and guide you throughout the repair. Our authorized collision repair provider is German Auto Body; they can also be reached at (408) 727-3368.
- Keep in Mind - California law requires that you report the accident, if anyone was injured or there was more than $750 in damage (to vehicles or other property), to the Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days. This report must be filed even if a police report was prepared at the accident scene. Go to the DMV website (www.dmv.ca.gov) to fill out and print the Traffic Accident Report (Form SR1). Mail the completed form to the DMV.