5 Steps to Follow When Reporting an Accident
Reporting a road or highway accident or emergency by cell phone? Follow these tips.
Step 1: Follow “Safety first” procedures.
- Be sure you are safe.
- If you are driving, pull over to a safe spot, turn on your hazard lights (flashers) and stop before calling for help.
- Be watchful of the potential for additional accidents caused by the first accident.
- Stay out of the path of oncoming vehicles.
WHN TIP – Be Safe, Be Smart: Never EVER risk your own safety.
Step 2: Write down the needed information
- Location of the emergency
- Road name or number
- City, State
- Closest cross street or off-ramp, milepost or another identifier
- Direction of travel
- Any distinguishing landmarks
Step 3: Call the appropriate agency.
- On a highway? Call the State Highway Patrol for that state.
- Some states have special cellphone-only numbers to report highway/vehicle-related problems such vehicle breakdowns/problems, accidents, hazardous material spills, or other highway hazards/problems, as well as impaired or aggressive/reckless drivers and other criminal behavior.
- Not sure whom to call? Call 9-1-1 — the universal emergency number in the United States. Using your mobile phone? Follow this advice from the FCC:
- Tell the emergency operator the location of the emergency right away.
- Provide the emergency operator with your wireless phone number, so if the call gets disconnected, the emergency operator can call you back.
- If your wireless phone is not “initialized” (meaning you do not have a contract for service with a wireless service provider), and your emergency call gets disconnected, you must call the emergency operator back because the operator does not have your telephone number and cannot contact you.
Step 4: Describe the nature of the emergency.
- Reckless or suspected drinking driver
- Traffic hazard
- Medical emergency
- Crime in progress, etc.
Step 5: Provide Your Information
- Your name
- Mobile phone number, and home and work phone numbers in case more information is needed.
- It is important that you stay on the line until the dispatcher says he or she has enough information to be able to send help.