A car accident can take you by surprise, but it’s even more startling when the other driver speeds off. Acting appropriately in the aftermath could make a big difference in how things play out.

There’s a hit-and-run in the US every 43 seconds. You could be part of this statistic if someone collided with your vehicle, then left you to deal with an accident. You can take a few steps after your accident to make sure you’re safe, and start the process to hold the other driver responsible for their actions.

Felony flight

You’re required by law to stop after an accident that involves property damage, injury or a fatality. You need to exchange pertinent information with the other party and report the accident to the authorities. You may even need to help anyone else in the accident, within reason. Failing to obey these rules could lead to a serious felony offense, depending on the severity of the accident.

Scene stopping

Steps to walk away from an accident:

  • Get to safety: When possible, move to a safe position. You’ll want to get out of traffic as soon as safely possible. Road signals and hazards may have to be enough if your vehicle isn’t going anywhere and someone is too injured to move.
  • Call the authorities: You’ll want to give the authorities notice as soon as possible, especially if there are any injuries. They may also have officers nearby that can stay on the lookout for a vehicle matching the one that made contact with you.
  • Take down notes: Everything after an accident can happen fast, so make sure you jot things down while they’re still fresh. Start with as many details as you can about the driver that took off, their plate number and car description. From there, begin writing down circumstances surrounding the accident, like the cause of the incident, the exact location and any nearby witnesses.

Drivers that take off after a hit-and-run aren’t just acting irresponsibly – they’re also breaking the law. Make sure you know what to do after someone leaves the scene, and you could be on your way to a better outcome.