If you’ve ever been involved in an auto collision you know how stressful the situation can be, especially if you don’t know what to do. You can minimize the stress if you stay calm and follow some simple rules.

First and foremost, if anyone is injured or you think the other driver may be guilty of a Criminal Code offence, such as drunk driving, call 911. Once you’ve assessed that everyone’s safety is secure, follow these steps:

1. Do not leave the scene of the collision. It may be a criminal offence to do so.

2. If there are injuries or if the damage is greater than $2,000, you have a legal obligation to report the collision to the police. You can do so my calling the police to report the collision; depending on the situation, they may instruct you to visit the nearest police station to report the collision.

3. If it’s safe, move the vehicles to the side of the road. If the vehicles aren’t drivable, turn on the hazard lights or surround the vehicles with cones or warning triangles if available.

4. Regardless of the circumstances, never admit fault for the collision, never sign any documents regarding fault and never promise to pay for the damages.

5. Record all collision details. Use IBC’s Collision Report Form.

6. Record what happened and how, and when, where and why it happened, as well as weather and road conditions. If possible, take cellphone photos of the vehicle damage.

7. Collect names, addresses, licence plate numbers, insurance details and contact information for all drivers, passengers and witnesses.

8. Call a tow truck if your vehicle is not safe to drive.

9. Report the collision to your insurer as soon as possible. If you are injured in the collision, you may be eligible for benefits. Submit claims forms as instructed by your insurance company.

Bottom line, it’s best to be prepared in order to manage an auto collision with peace of mind. Print a copy of the IBC’s Collision Report Form and keep it in your glovebox so that you can ensure you capture all the necessary details at the time of the collision accident.