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Tips on Driver Conduct at Crash Scenes
Great West Casualty Company is one of the leaders in truck insurance in the United States. In a recently published article by GWCC, they underline some key guidelines for truck drivers to follow if they are involved in a vehicle crash. Each and every one of these situations is different, but in all, emotions typically run high and can lead to stress and misunderstandings. Truck drivers must be prepared with what to do before any event happens. First, some overall tips:
- Be polite and courteous at the scene.
- Admit nothing, promise nothing, and don’t argue.
- Do not discuss the crash with anyone expect the police, representatives from your own company, and any other key contacts involved with your load.
- Do not offer any theories, reasons, or excuses as to why the crash happened.
The key to remember from these tips is that anything you say or any statements you make may later be used against you.
When a crash does happen, follow these guidelines:
- Stop – Failure to stop at the scene of a crash in which you are involved in is a criminal offence.
- Protect the scene – Turn on your 4-way flashers to notify other drivers of the scene. Set out emergency reflectors to warn approaching traffic. (a good rule is to place one approx. 10 feet from the vehicle in the direction of approaching traffic, one approx. 100 feet from the vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the truck in the direction of approaching traffic, and one approx. 100 feet from the vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the truck in the direction away from approaching traffic).
- Assist any injured persons – Provide first aid where it is needed, but only if you are trained to do so. Do not move injured persons unless it is absolutely critical in order to prevent further injury. To reduce shock, keep them warm and quiet. Wait for trained emergency personnel to handle the removal and treatment of injured persons.
- Notify the police – Let them know of any injuries or fire hazards that may be present at the scene.
- Notify your company or 3rd party dispatcher – Let them know of the crash and any probably delays in delivery.
- Obtain and record all the facts – Drivers should have an accident report kit in their vehicle to record all crash details. Common details needed: name, address, and phone number of witnesses, information from anyone else involved in the crash including their insurance information, passenger names, and addresses. The information is appropriate to ask even if the crash appears to be minor or without any damage. An example of an accident report kit can be found here.
- Take photos – Use your camera or cell phone and if it is safe to do so, take photos of the damage to other vehicles or property from several angles. Also, remember to take photos of any roadways or signs that may have contributed to the crash. If witnesses do not want to get involved, get photos of their license plates so that they can be identified and contacted.
- Protect any cargo and truck/trailer equipment – Avoid leaving the cargo and equipment unattended except in the case of extreme emergencies.
Great West Casualty Company has various useful tips on their website for truck drivers, and if you are a customer, you can access their Value-Driven Learning library for FREE!