Risk management

Defensive driving

If you're involved in an accident

Even the best defensive driving tips will not prevent all accidents. If you happen to be involved in an accident, follow a few simple rules.

In any type of accident, do the following, but do them as safely as possible, depending on your situation.

  • Move to the side of the road and turn off the ignition
  • Perform a first-aid check
  • Call the police
  • Collect insurance and registration information, and get a copy of the police report
  • Draw a sketch of the accident scene
  • Don’t point blame or discuss fault

If, despite your best efforts, you’re involved in a traffic accident, remember that most people will be upset and emotions will be high. Do not allow their behavior to draw you into a fight or confrontation.

So try to remain calm and take these steps:

First, move to the side of the road, if possible, and turn off the ignition. You must be very careful while doing this. If you are overly upset or injured, do not attempt to move your vehicle until it is safe for you, or someone else, to do so.

Next, perform a first-aid check on all drivers and passengers. It is always a good idea to carry a first aid kit in your vehicle for just this reason.

Call the police and report your location and any injuries that require emergency medical services. Try to do this as soon as possible and as soon as it is safe to do so.

When the police arrive on the scene, collect insurance and registration information from the other driver, and make sure to ask the police to send you a copy of their report.

Draw a quick sketch or take a picture of the accident scene and jot down your recollection of exactly how the accident happened.

Finally, don’t point blame or discuss fault—leave it to the insurance companies to work out the details.


Insurance products and services are offered through Markel Specialty Commercial, a business division of Markel Service Incorporated, policies written by one or more Markel insurance companies. Terms and conditions for coverage may vary by state.

The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.