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Karl Newman, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director     
NW Insurance Council    
Phone: (206) 624-3330
Fax: (206) 624-1975
Follow at Twitter/nwinsuranceinfo

Auto accidents: advanced planning can reduce stress

SEATTLE - Washington motorists drive more miles during summer than at any other time of the year.

Nearly 40 percent of the miles driven in Washington are logged in the generally sunny months from July through October, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. In spite of the good driving conditions, more than one third of all auto collisions take place during those same months.

"Consumers can take a lot of the headache out of being involved in an auto accident with some advanced planning," said Karl Newman, president of the NW Insurance Council. "Knowing what to do immediately following an accident and preparing ahead of time can save drivers stress, time and money."

NW Insurance Council provides the following tips to help you quickly recover from an accident:

Before an accident:

  • Keep a notebook and pen in the glove compartment to help you record important information about the accident. You may also wish to include an inexpensive "throwaway" camera.
  • Keep the claim reporting phone number for your insurance company in your wallet or purse.
  • Always carry your vehicle registration and insurance card.
  • If you are allergic to certain medicines or require special medical attention, keep a medical alert card with you at all times - whether you are the driver or a passenger.

Immediately following an accident:

  • If anyone is injured, call for medical assistance immediately. Provide basic first aid, but don't move an injured person. Wait for professional medical help.
  • If possible, move the vehicles out of the way of traffic.
  • Call the police and wait for them at the accident scene.
  • Write down these key facts:
    • Driver's license and vehicle license numbers
    • Insurance company name, policy number, agent phone number
    • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all drivers and passengers
    • Witnesses' names, addresses and phone numbers
  • Take photos (from several angles) of the vehicles and the accident scene. Be sure to photograph the license plate of the other vehicle(s)
  • Make a rough sketch of the accident scene and note details of the accident such as time of day, road and weather conditions, street names and direction and speed of travel.
  • Call your insurance company to report the accident within 24 hours if possible.
  • Get a copy of the police report.
  • Keep copies of all documents related to the accident.

Consumers can receive a free copy of these tips by calling NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942 or visiting

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.