If you are off on a driving holiday it is as well to know in advance what the laws are for road users in the country of your destination – not just the highway code and whether you drive on the right or left.
Different countries deal with road traffic accidents (RTAs) in different ways – and this might include when you report to the police in the case of minor bumps, as some countries require the police to be advised of all RTAs, whereas in the UK, once you have exchanged details with the other driver, in the case of a minor bump you can report to the police station the next day if need be.
Here are 10 tips for dealing with a car crash on holiday:
- Download apps from iTunes or Android which can be used on your mobile to record any incidents such as the time and place of an accident, as well as your speed. Some car accident apps can be programmed to phone the emergency services if you do not cancel the app within a certain time limit, as it assumes you have been hurt. Car crash apps can also use phone’s camera to record the road as you drive – or invest in a car crash monitor for your dashboard. You can also download apps which help keep you awake at the wheel by monitoring your driving performance.
- If you do have a car crash abroad, don’t be tempted to leave the scene of the accident. Most roadways are now monitored by CCTV, but even if you have a car accident in remote areas, the chances are your vehicle will be distinctive from local traffic or someone will spot you at some point.
- Be polite to local police – it can be scary having to deal with a car crash if you don’t speak the language and some police authorities are not as customer friendly as the UK police, but remain calm, produce your documents and try and answer any questions your are asked as calmly and fully as possible.
- Remember, raising your voice might get you arrested – and may also make it seem as you might be a hothead who actually caused the crash, regardless of your denials.
- As soon as you can after the road accident, try and make a note of what happened – you will need to move your vehicle out of the way of any oncoming traffic or hazards first and make sure passengers are okay, but the sooner you can jot down what happened the better.
- If anyone is injured – especially with a head injury, spinal injury or is unconscious – do not move them unless they are in immediate danger from traffic or the car engine catching on fire. Head injuries are not always obvious, as sometimes there is no external bruising or sign of trauma, but confusion, lack of consciousness, being unable to focus with your eyes and blood or liquid coming from the nose or ears are all signs of brain injury after a head impact.
- Carry hazard warning signs in your boot to warn other road users of the obstacle and use your hazard warning lights – and also carry a First Aid kit and a blanket and a bottle of unopened mineral water.
- Make sure you know the number of the emergency services in the country you are driving in, just in case.
- Carry your driving licence and passport with you when driving abroad.
- You can also make sure you have your car insurance details on your mobile phone, as well the number of a road traffic accident solicitor in the UK in case you need advice while abroad. Both your car insurer and a car accident solicitor can help talk you through what to do and also whether you might be able to claim for holiday road traffic accident compensation if you or a passenger has been injured and the accident was not your fault.
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Peter Anderson – I love to blog about holidays and safety abroad Google+