There’s no foretelling when an emergency can occur, there’s only hindsight that usually leaves us saying, “I should have been more prepared for an emergency.”

Which is why, when it comes to emergencies, preparation is key. Thus, start by getting familiarised with emergency hotlines for times of need, or better yet, save the hotline number in your mobile phone. Furthermore, empowering yourself by knowing the steps to handle the situation can help you tamp down the panic and instead manage the situation effectively. 

Step 1: Assess yourself and your surroundings

If you were in an accident, check yourself for injuries. An adrenaline rush may mask the severity of pain of any injuries, so do check yourself carefully and mindfully before taking any action.

Assess the situation from your car. If you can, move your car to the side as quickly and safely as possible and turn on your hazard lights. If you are unable to move your car, sit tight and wait for help. But, if your car is stuck in the middle of a busy highway, stand away from the car and find a safe place to wait.  Be cautious when accepting help from strangers because unfortunately, accident victims are prime targets for road scams. So, if a tow truck just happens to pass by after your accident and offers its services, be polite in your refusal, stay in the car, and instead wait for a friend or the designated tow truck arranged by your roadside assistance to arrive. Remember to take down your designated tow truck’s vehicle registration number and driver’s name and contact number when you ring for roadside assistance. 

Step 2: Calm down, don’t panic, and make the call

During high-stress situations such as a road accident, it’s normal to experience a whirlwind of emotions. However, try not to let your emotions get the best of you. Focus your energies instead on these simple steps:

Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself and then, in case of major accidents, call for roadside assistance as soon as you’re able. Inform them of the situation and wait for help to arrive. If you need more comfort, reach out to your loved ones after that.

Roadside assistance is also helpful for non-accident situations such as car breakdowns and replacing punctured tyres as they will send a mechanic to help with the necessary repairs.

Step 3: Gather your evidence

Take note of the time and location of the accident. If you feel safe stepping out of your car, take photos of the accident scene and damage to the vehicles involved (both yours and the other party). Also, exchange contact information with the other party. This includes phone numbers, driving license numbers, vehicle model and registration numbers, as well as your respective insurance companies.

Remember, while exchanging information, you should not admit to any liability, agree to any settlement, or sign any paperwork. 

Step 4: Lodge a police report

Head over to the police station nearest to the scene of the accident as soon as possible.  If the accident occurred at night or if you’re unfamiliar with the area, do not worry —  you have 24 hours to report the accident. Just be sure to report it, or else you may incur a fine. 

Step 5: Call your insurance provider

In the event of a major road accident, you should call your insurance provider first, especially if your coverage also includes roadside assistance. Roadside assistance will help provide towing services in the case of major accidents, but is also useful for minor road emergencies such as car breakdowns or flat tyres, as they will send a mechanic to assist you.

However, if it is only a minor road accident (such as slight dents or scratches to the bumper) and you do not require any roadside assistance, you may call your insurance provider once you have the police report in hand. Be sure to notify your insurance provider within 7 days of the accident and submit your claim as soon as possible.  You’ll need the following documents to submit your claim:

1. Original copies of the police report

2. A police letter informing which insurance party is compounded for the road traffic offence

3. Photos of the accident scene and damage

4. Completed claim form

5. Copies of the vehicle ownership certificate 

6. Your National Registration Identity Card (NRIC)

After you’ve completed your paperwork with the insurance provider, you can drop off your car at a panel workshop for repairs. 

So, if ever you experience a road accident or non-accident emergency, remember the five steps above to managing the situation effectively. In order to ease the situation further, consider renewing your motor insurance with ........................