On the evening of Saturday, January 19th I was grateful to have safely returned to Wetaskiwin from a trip to Vegreville. The roads were icy in many stretches of the highway but by using a great deal of care and caution, arrived in town and stopped for a red light by the Water Tower intersection.
Bang!! The first instinctive thought was, “What the h@%# was that” quickly followed by disbelief that my vehicle had just been rear ended. After noting my passenger was not injured, I collected my thoughts and a couple seconds later, got out of the vehicle and started walking to the back of my truck. About the same time the driver of the other vehicle, a young lady, was getting out of her vehicle and apologizing profusely for running into me. “I was going too fast and couldn’t stop. I’m so sorry.” My response wasn’t quite as polite as a multitude of thoughts about potential inconveniences and potential problems raced through my brain. That very morning I had read an article in the Edmonton Journal with the headline, “Being too trusting a pricey mistake in hit-and-runs: police”. It goes on to say, “If the person who’s been hit doesn’t collect any information – they were a trusting person – they’re going to be out for the damage.”
We exchanged information, took pictures of the vehicles with our phones and went to the police station to file a report. We learned that if the damage is less than $2000 you are not required to file a report so agreed that I would get an estimate the following Monday and go from there.
The damage did exceed $2000 and we did have to file damage reports at the RCMP station. That is where I came to the realization that I could have done a better job collecting information. Which lane were you in? Well, I usually turn left at that intersection and would be in the left lane. Or, was I going straight through for some reason? The vehicle in front of me and to my right drove away so I didn’t know anything about them. What time was the accident? Not sure, so checked the properties (list of details) of the photographs on my phone and got the exact time. Where did the accident occur? No, I didn’t jot down the address.
I was fortunate. First of all no one was injured except for the stiffness in our necks and shoulders from the whiplash that became apparent on Sunday and increasingly sore on Monday. The second thing we are thankful for is we decided to take the truck that day. The heavy duty hitch minimized the damage to the truck and the size and weight of the truck lessened the impact we felt. The car would have been a mess. Finally, the young lady was very co-operative, very polite and had (current) insurance and registration. After spending a couple days getting estimates, filling out the police report, checking with my insurance agent, providing details to the young lady’s insurance agent, dealing with my adjustor and providing my adjustor with a copy of the police report, the process for getting my truck repaired was well underway.
But it led me to think. This was a minor fender bender. And yes we exchanged appropriate information and everything went smoothly. But there must be a more systematic procedure at the scene of an accident. I checked the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s website, http://www.ibc.ca/en/Car_Insurance/What_to_do_Accident.asp and uncovered some guidelines
Safety first: If it is safe, try to move your car to the side of the road, out of traffic. If you can’t drive your car, turn on your hazard lights or use cones, warning triangles or flares.
Always call the police if:
• someone is hurt;
• you think any other driver may be guilty of a Criminal Code offence, such as drunk driving; and/or
• there is significant property damage
To help, you can find an accident checklist on the Manitoba Autopac website mpi.mb.ca/PDFs/accident_report.pdf that could be printed and placed in your vehicle or cell phone.