Dealers Voice: Be Prepared in the Event of a Collision
Here are some points to consider.
It’s a common misperception that most auto collisions occur during the winter.
That is not so. According to Canada’s National Collision Database, more collisions occur in August than in any other month, and 20 per cent of all collisions occur during July and August combined.
Collisions can happen in any month of the year. Motorists who are unprepared when a collision occurs often make poor decisions that end up costing them time and money.
Here are some points to consider in the event of a collision. I would suggest printing a copy of this column and keeping it in your glove compartment, or making it easily accessible on your smartphone.
1. Drive with caution. Driving recklessly, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or while distracted, significantly increases your chances of being involved in an accident. This advice is all the more poignant given that more than 90 per cent of all motor vehicle collisions are the result of human error.
2. Auto safety. Keep your vehicle properly maintained (follow the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines for regular maintenance), and make sure you are driving with the right tires (winter tires in winter and summer or all-season tires for other seasons).
3. Research collision shops. It is important to know what collision facility will perform the repairs and to know their procedures. All new-car dealerships have repair facilities on-site or are affiliated with a reputable shop. A tow truck operator or an insurance provider may suggest a repair facility, but the choice is yours.
4. Exchange information. If more than one vehicle is involved, and regardless of the extent of vehicle damage or personal injuries, obtain appropriate information (name, address, phone number, insurance company and policy number) from all parties involved, including witnesses. Do not take responsibility and do not assign blame.
5. Assess damages. In Ontario, if you think damages are more than $2,000 (both vehicles), you must report to the police. If there are injuries, you must report it to the police or arrange to have the vehicle brought to the nearest reporting centre within 24 hours.
6. Know your rights. Soon after a collision, contact your insurance company and explain you expect the repairs to be made using original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts for your make and brand.
7. Towing. Tow truck operators provide an important service on our roads and highways. Know what the towing charges will be, and do not sign a waiver or consent form unless you understand what you are signing.
8. On-board items. If you’re planning a long road trip (or travel to a remote area), take along provisions such as a flashlight, blanket, booster cables, emergency road flares, non-perishable food, First-Aid kit, matches, bottled water, appropriate clothing and a cellphone.
9. Smartphone. At an accident scene, a smartphone can be used to contact the police, call 9-1-1, request medical aid or take pictures of a damaged vehicle to assist in a police investigation or an insurance claim.
10. Roadside assistance. This service allows your vehicles to be towed to a franchised dealer, or to the closest dealer representing your make of car if you are far from home. If you lack roadside assistance coverage, ensure the tow driver understands your wishes.
A final note: according to tow truck operators and first responders, motorists and passengers often snap pictures of accident scenes as they drive past. This is reckless, puts your safety and that of other motorists at risk and causes traffic jams.
All motorists and passengers who are not directly involved in an accident should avoid taking pictures at accident scenes.
This column represents the views and values of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to tada.ca. Cliff Lafreniere is president of the TADA and is president of Pinewood Park Motors (Ford) in Kirkland Lake. For information about automotive trends and careers, visit carsandjobs.com.