Every year motorists are involved in thousands of accidents and if it happens to one of your employees, it’s crucial to have a robust crash management policy in place. Unfortunately some businesses only realise this once it happens which can result in an employee feeling stranded and under pressure.
Having a procedure in place in advance will ensure the team member can work systematically through certain steps even if they feel disorientated or overwhelmed by the initial shock of the situation.
In terms of best practice, it is vital that you encourage your employees to take the following steps:
- Stop as soon as you can.
- Call 999 if someone needs urgent medical attention, the road is blocked or damaged or if someone leaves the scene without giving their details.
- Exchange details with all the drivers involved including names, addresses, telephone numbers, vehicle registration numbers and insurance company details and policy numbers. This will help with any claims process. Get any witness details too.
- Make a sketch or better still, take a photo of the scene including as many details as you can. Recall any extra information, for example, if a driver was using a mobile phone.
It can be very stressful for employees but encouraging them to remain calm and gather vital information can make all the difference. Many companies create a “bump pack” which outlines what drivers should do in the event of an accident. This can help prompt drivers when adrenalin takes over and minds go blank. Others email their teams once a month reminding them of what to do if they are involved in an incident. This regular communication is excellent as it keeps best practice front of mind.
Another aspect to consider is whether to sign up to an accident management service. Doing this can remove a lot of burden as the provider will coordinate all the recovery, repairs and replacement vehicles. The last thing you will want to do when something unexpected happens is to have to ring around numerous firms getting quotes for recovery or replacement vehicles. The huge benefit of this is that not only is your driver and asset looked after but it can also help you control damage costs and improve your accident rates. The management information available will mean you can get a total picture of your accident causes and spend.
Encouraging your employees to report any incident they are involved in, is vital, no matter how minor. We once had a client where they only reported major incidents and they overlooked minor things. As a result, they didn’t understand the full picture of risk in the business. One driver had damaged his wing mirror four times and then proceeded to be involved in a much more serious crash, something that might have been avoided if the business had realised the significance of the original episodes.
It is also good to stress the importance of reporting incidents as soon as is safe to do so and if possible from the scene. If you do not report an accident quickly enough, the cost and associated risk can really escalate. For example, if drivers report losses within 24 hours, it is possible to get in touch with those involved and control the costs by, for example, negotiating the use of better value services at established garages. When incidents aren’t reported promptly, third parties often commit to expensive credit hire and credit repair services, and these inflated costs are then passed on to the client.
In addition, installing telematics technology to your fleet can be an excellent source of data and can transform the accident management process, communicating within minutes that there has been an accident. If every company car had telematics, the industry would be transformed as there would be solid and irrefutable evidence to support or challenge each claim. Telematics can measure the speed of a car before an incident as well as calculating braking distances and exact locations at the time of impact. We know of many examples where telematics has helped drivers prove to insurers exactly what happened and therefore prove their innocence.
It is vital to have a good accident management policy in place as it enables you to manage your business well, control risk, keep costs down but most of all, look after your employees, your most valuable asset, during what can be a stressful time.
By Nick Williams, managing director, RAC Accident Services