What to do if you are involved in a minor collision
If you become involved in a minor motor vehicle collision on a state freeway or highway, you need to know what to do. It is equally important to plan ahead.
The intent of this page is to provide basic information on what to do in the event of a "fender bender" or other minor collision on a state freeway or highway. Motorists should call 911 immediately when serious injuries and/or damages occur.
What To Do . . .
- Drivers involved in minor collisions with no serious injuries should move vehicles to the side of the road and out of the way of oncoming traffic. Leaving vehicles parked in the middle of the road or busy intersections can result in additional collisions and injuries.
- If a vehicle cannot be moved, call 911 and wait for assistance. Drivers and passengers should remain in the vehicles with seat belts fastened for everyone's safety until help arrives.
- Make sure to turn on hazard lights and set out warning lights, flares, or hazard triangles, if possible.
Keep Safety First:
- Exchange the following information at a safe location off the roadway:
- Name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number, and license plate number for the driver and the owner of each vehicle.
- If the driver's name is different from the name of the insured, establish what the relationship is and take down the name and address for each individual.
- Make a written description of each car, including year, make, model, and color and the exact location of the collision and how it happened.
Be prepared . . .
- Drivers should carry a cell phone, as well as pen and paper for taking notes, a disposable camera to take photos of the vehicles at the scene (cell phone camera will also work), and a card with information about medical allergies or conditions that may require special attention if there are serious injuries.
- Keep a list of contact numbers for law enforcement agencies and insurance information.
- Have available warning lights, hazard triangles, or emergency flares.
Keep a Roadside Emergency Kit in Vehicle:
After a collision . . .
- If law enforcement does not respond to complete a collision report, you may still have to. In the state of Washington, collisions resulting in $700 or more in vehicle damage or involving injuries must be reported to the Washington State Patrol. The Motor Vehicle Collision Report must be completed within three days of the collision and is available at any law enforcement office or from the Collision Reports page of the WSP web site, located under the "Citizens Reports" section.
File a Collision Report:
For information about a disabled vehicle, please see our "What to do if your vehicle becomes disabled " page.