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Collision Resources

We hope you’re never involved in a car collision – but in the unfortunate event you are, it’s important to know what to do. Here's a quick guide.

At the site of collision

Be prepared by knowing what to do if you’re ever involved in a collision. Keep these things in mind and make sure other drivers in your family know what to do in the event of a collision.

  • stop – failure to remain at the scene of an accident may result in criminal prosecution

  • stay calm

  • call 911 or local police if:

    • someone is hurt

    • you think any other driver may be guilty of a Criminal Code offence, such as impaired driving

    • you suspect you’re the victim of a staged collision

    • there is significant property damage or the vehicle is not drivable

  • report the collision to police, as required by regulations in your province or territory

  • if it’s safe, move the vehicles to the side of the road

  • if vehicles aren’t drivable, turn on hazard lights or surround the vehicles with cones or warning triangles

  • regardless of the circumstances never admit fault, sign any documents regarding fault or promise to pay for damages

  • record all collision details as soon as possible following a collision. An accident report form can help to make sure you capture important details for your claim or police report

    • what, how, when and where it happened

    • weather and road conditions

    • names, addresses, licence plate numbers and insurance details of all drivers, passengers and witnesses

  • if possible, take photos of any vehicle damage

  • Be wary of tow truck operators who pressure you to authorize towing or repairs. You have the right to request estimates of fees in advance.

It’s important that you report the collision within 48-72 hours whether you decide to file a claim or not. Make sure you understand your responsibilities and the claim process.

Spot a staged collision

Here’s how to spot and protect yourself from 3 types of staged collisions:

  1. "Swoop and squat" scam

    One scammer cuts off an accomplice, who then slams on the brakes in front of you and then claims you were at fault for rear-ending them.

    How to help prevent it: Always keep plenty of distance between you and the car ahead.

  2. "Drive down" scam

    The scammer waves you out of your parking spot and then accelerates into you and claims the collision was your fault.

    How to help prevent it: be cautious and patient when exiting a parking spot - wait until the coast is clear before exiting a spot. And, when possible, reverse into parking spots - this will help when it's time to leave.

  3. "Bullet left turn" scam

    The scammer waves you through an intersection and then drives into you and claims you are at fault.

    How to help prevent it: be wary of accepting the right of way when making a left turn and ensure you're turning safely - with plenty of space between you and oncoming vehicles.

If you have information about auto insurance crime you can:

Know your tow

Call your insurance representative as soon as possible to report the collision. They can provide helpful advice on tow options, repair and car rental companies. Here’s what’s important to know if you need your car towed:

  • it’s your right to decide who can tow your vehicle and to what location (unless otherwise directed by police)

  • you must sign a “permission to tow” form (in Ontario) the towing company must provide an itemized invoice before receiving payment and starting work

  • you’re entitled to a receipt for tow services rendered

  • you can pay for services with a debit or credit card

  • don’t store your vehicle in a compound yard unless directed by your insurance representative

  • never sign a blank contract or take referrals from tow companies

Are you an Ontario driver? Learn how new regulations will protect your consumer rights.

Prepare a vehicle emergency kit

Always keep an emergency kit in your vehicle and ensure it's properly supplied and updated. Here are a few things to add to yours:

  • first aid kit

  • seatbelt cutter

  • tow rope, jumper cables and fire extinguisher

  • portable shovel, scraper, snowbrush, antifreeze and windshield washer fluid

  • salt, sand or non-clumping cat litter

  • non-perishable food such as energy or granola bars

  • water – replace every 6 months

  • warm blanket, extra clothes, shoes or boots

  • cash, including small bills and change for pay phones

  • wind-up or regular portable radio and batteries

  • warning light and matches, flashlight and batteries

  • road flares and a whistle - in case you need to attract attention

  • printed road maps