Your first time through a car accident can be chaotic and stressful. You have no idea what you're supposed to do. It's a new experience, something you hoped would never happen to you.

At a time like this, it's important to remember what not to do, as well. Mistakes made in the wake of an accident can make the whole process more difficult. To get you started, here are five things to avoid. You should not:

1. Leave the Scene

Don't go get a spouse, a parent or any other relative. Unless there's an emergency, don't even go try to find a police officer. Just contact the police via phone and wait at the scene.

2. Move the Car

Not only should you stay at the scene, but you typically shouldn't even move the car. The police need to make their report first. Plus, moving the car can be viewed as attempting to leave the crash scene. There are rare exceptions for emergencies and safety concerns, but you typically never want to move the vehicle.

3. Get Rid of Evidence

Almost everything from the site is potentially evidence: your cellphone, parts that broke off of the car, the video from you dashcam and much more. Keep everything to present to the authorities.

4. Forget to Exchange Information

In the chaos of the accident, don't forget to talk to the other driver and get contact and insurance information. He or she will probably want yours as well, regardless of fault.

5. Apologize

For many people, apologizing is just an instinct. Don't do it. You don't want to do anything that could make it look like you're admitting fault. You can be kind when talking to the other driver, of course, but don't say you caused the crash. The police will decide who caused it.


Remember that accidents can be very costly. You may lose wages as you miss time at work, you could have high medical bills and you could experience pain and suffering due to someone else's negligence. Be sure you know your legal rights and avenues for properly taking care of yourself after an accident.