Your Fender-Bender Survival Guide
Winter weather brings increased minor accidents
With most of the country mired in a deep freeze and winter weather causing pile-ups from Texas to New York, there are sure to be plenty of fender-benders on the nation's roads. Fender-benders go up 20 percent in December, ABC reported.
A fender bender can be scary, but once the dust settles, there are a few steps you need to take to make sure you and your car are in good working order.
After the accident
If your car is drivable, get out of traffic as soon as possible. If icy or snowy roads might make this too dangerous, stay inside and keep your seat belt buckled in case of another collision. If you had a hard time stopping the folks behind you might as well. Call 9-1-1 for assistance if you can't get to a safe place.
Once the car is out of traffic, your first step should always be to check on the safety and well-being of everyone involved. Starting with you. Remember, even in a minor collision, people can be hurt. A visit to a doctor is always a good idea after any accident.
In some states, if the damage is minor and no one is hurt, the police don't need to be called. Still, consider calling the police if the damage seems extensive, or if your insurance company requires police reports for claims. A busy night means the police may not respond to a minor crash. If that is the case you can file a report yourself later.
This is also a good time to get the insurance information from any other drivers involved. Get the information personally, so you know the information is correct. Be sure to take pictures of the damage to both cars and road conditions which led to the crash.
Getting back on the road
Body work can be expensive, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on the extent of the damage. Luckily, there's an App for that. Repair Pal gives users the average cost for repairs in their area. Cell phones can be useful for more than just apps. It can also come in handy taking pictures of the damage and many cell-phone carriers offer roadside assistance for just a few dollar a month.
ABC also suggests using YourMechanic.com for minor scrapes. Like old time doctors, these mechanics make house calls for your car. The service is often cheaper than a traditional mechanic as they lack the overhead of maintaining a whole garage. A reliable and trusted mechanic or dealership however, is always your best bet for more complex repairs.
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