Young may pay penalty of panicking by accident

Accidents happen but you should never panic and leave the scene without getting details of other par

Accidents happen but you should never panic and leave the scene without getting details of other parties, not tell your insurer or admit liability at the scene. - Credit: supplied

Accidents happen but the important thing is not to panic, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

After passing my driving test, and I suspect I am not alone, I was worried about how I would cope if I had an accident.

Accidents happen – that’s why we have insurance – but while it’s a stressful time it’s important not to panic.

I was reminded of my early fears when I saw a piece from ingenie which exclusively insures drivers aged 17 to 25 and uses a telematics ‘black box’ to build a picture of a driver’s individual style, awareness and safety and reward safe driving by lowering their premiums.

It says young drivers who panic after a crash may be leaving themselves unfairly penalised as they fail to ask for names and addresses of other parties, delay reporting incidents for a week or more and even admit liability when not necessarily at fault.

Its research shows that just 14% its customers who have had a crash felt driving lessons had prepared them for what to do.

Three-quarters (74%) failed to ask for contact details of other parties involved, 71% forgot to take down registration numbers and 82% failed to get vital witness information. Another 21% claim to have admitted liability when it perhaps wasn’t their fault while, most seriously, 10% of young drivers were so shaken they left the scene without handing over their own details with 6% panicking and driving off.

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One factor that may delay young people reporting a crash is the cost, which can be considerable. Young drivers in collisions miss out on an average of £450 in lost no claims discount at their next renewal and also pay out an average of £650 in excess payments.

To help young drivers keep cool, ingenie has developed a simple guide and checklist of what to do in the event of a crash, adding it to its smartphone app and hosting it online. It prompts drivers to ask the right questions, allows them to make notes of witness details and record any damage to vehicles and property, before emailing the details to the driver, so they have them on record.

The online version available for all drivers is at www.ingenie.com/crash-guide