What to do in a driving emergency

Black boxes aren’t just for tracking your speed. As well as contributing towards a cheaper car insurance policy - the better you drive, the more money you could save - they can also support you should your car be stolen, or if you have an accident.

Here, we’ve taken a look at how a telematics device can support you day-to-day, as well as what to do in an emergency situation when out on the road.

How a black box can work as an anti-theft tracking device

A black box can work as an anti-theft tracking device, if you don’t already have one installed in your car. We’ve touched on how a black box can help if your car is stolen in a previous blog post but we’ve broken it down further here as well as what to do if it should happen.  

What to do if your car is stolen and you have a black box installed

  1. Call 101, report the car as stolen and get a crime reference number.
  2. Call your insurer and let them know the car has been stolen.
  3. If you have a telematics policy with WiseDriving, we use GPS to locate your car.
  4. Wait for news of whether your car has been found and what to do next from your insurer and the authorities.

Notify the authorities

If your car has been stolen, the first thing you need to do is alert the authorities. Don’t call 999 - it may feel like an emergency to you, but to the police, it’s not something that requires immediate presence.

Instead, call 101 and speak to one of their advisers, who will take your details and information about the car and where it was last parked etc., to build up a report. You’ll be issued with a crime reference number.

You’ll need this number when speaking to your insurer - the police should inform the DVLA that your car has been stolen on your behalf. Also, let the adviser on the phone know that you have a telematics insurance policy.

Get in touch with your insurer

Next, you need to get in touch with your insurer - if you’ve chosen WiseDriving for your black box insurance, you can find all of the numbers that you’ll need here, including the number you’ll need to call to start the process of locating your car. 

Once we are aware your car has been stolen, we can then use our GPS tracking system within your black box to locate where your car is and use this information to alert the authorities, using your crime reference number. We’ll be able to see if the vehicle is moving or stationary and then feed this information back to the authorities.

Wait for news

If your car is recovered and isn’t damaged, you could even get it back after the police have carried out their inspection of the vehicle and, in some cases, the thief may be caught!

To reduce the risk of your car being stolen or broken into, take a look at our blog on how to keep it secure so you can walk away safe in the knowledge you’ve done all you can.

What to do if you have an accident

Accidents can be really scary, even if it’s just a small prang but it’s important you handle them as calmly as possible and follow these steps.
  1. Stop the car somewhere safe and turn off the engine.
  2. Get out if it is safe to do so and assess the damage.
  3. If anyone is hurt call the police and ambulance services immediately.
  4. Take photos of your car and the other person’s vehicles.
  5. Note down their registration number, name, contact details, who they’re insured with and where they live.
  6. If your cars are causing an obstruction, call 101 to notify the police who will come to assist with road closures and moving the cars.
  7. If there are no injuries at the scene, make a note of this to ensure no one claims for one in the future.

When to call the police if you have an accident

Minor prangs likely won’t need police involvement at the scene but here are some situations that require you to give them a call.
  • If you suspect the other driver(s) involved don’t have insurance.

  • If you believe the other driver(s) are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

  • If the other driver involved flees the scene.

  • If you feel the other driver caused the accident purposefully as part of an insurance claim scam.
  • If cars are blocking the road, or if anyone is injured.

When to notify your insurer after an accident

It’s best to call your insurer as soon as you can after the accident. You will need to provide them with your policy number and details of the cars registration numbers involved and the other driver's contact details and insurance details.

If you have a black box installed, in some cases, this can help if you have a car accident by providing data that your insurer can use to settle the claim, so it’s important to notify your insurer so they can begin their investigations.

What to do if you get a crack in your windscreen

Chips and cracks in your windscreen need to be fixed straight away, to ensure they don’t get worse and pose danger to you while driving. If one happens while driving it’s important to get this seen to before it turns into a crack.

In most cases, a garage can fill the chip with a type of acrylic gel that ensures it doesn’t get worse. If the crack is particularly bad, you may need to have the windscreen replaced.

Depending on the type of insurance you have, you may be covered for windscreen claims, so it’s worth checking your policy wording to find out what you’re covered for and how to claim.

How to avoid cracks in your windscreen

  • Change your windscreen wipers if they are worn to ensure they don’t scratch or chip the glass as they move across it. Keep your windscreen clear of debris too.
  • Don’t pour boiling or hot water on your windscreen in icy conditions - the sudden change in temperature can cause a crack.
  • Drive slower on road surfaces that have loose gravel or dirt to avoid it flying up and chipping the windscreen.
  • Leave plenty of space behind the car in front, especially if it is a larger lorry as these can kick up dirt on the road.

What to do if your car breaks down

A breakdown can be pretty stressful, so it pays to be prepared. If you haven’t yet signed up for breakdown cover, look into this. You can find a deal that ensures you’re not left stranded by the side of the road or have to pay out a fee to get someone to come and help you.

Here’s what to do in the event it happens to you:
  • Turn on your hazard lights and try to pull over somewhere safe and clear of the road. Ensure the engine is off.   
  • Get out of the car and stand away from the vehicle and the road.
  • If you have a warning triangle and hi-vis jacket in your car get these out to ensure other drivers can see you’ve stopped.
  • Call your breakdown provider - you will need your policy number - let them know what is wrong and where you are.
  • Make others aware of your situation and wait for the breakdown team to arrive.

All of our policies come with the option to add RAC breakdown cover, so it’s worth considering this to ensure you’re covered.

What to do if your car is overheating

If you’re stuck in traffic in summer, your engine may get hot fast. The traffic and the weather can all contribute to a hot engine and an unhappy car.  Here’s what to do if your car is showing signs of overheating in traffic:
  1. Turn off the air con - It isn’t going to be comfortable for you and your passengers but it will stop the engine working so hard, allowing it to catch up and potentially cool down.
  2. Turn on the heater - This sounds counterproductive (and will make things even sweatier) but it could draw heat away from the engine.
  3. If you can, pull over and turn the engine off - We know this isn’t possible when you’re stuck in a traffic jam but, if you can get off the road and leave the car to cool down before heading off again, it’s a good way of fixing the problem. Don’t try and open the bonnet until the engine has cooled down a bit.
  4. Check the coolant - Once the engine is cooled down, check that there is enough coolant under the bonnet. This helps to regulate the heat of the engine, resulting in a lower risk of overheating.
Tackle those driving emergencies head on with these tips to stay safe on the road and get sorted fast. Consider a black box and how it can help with certain driving emergencies, as well as having the potential to save you money with safer driving.

Posted on April 23, 2019

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