TRENTON – It’s no secret that winter and holiday traffic can be stressful. And, holiday shopping can mean unfortunate accidents in parking lots and on the roads.
The Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey Inc. says there are things to consider if you drive out into the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping traffic. You should count on more delays than you’d experience in the summer. If bad weather hits, you may end up with road closings, slower speeds due to snow or sleet, traffic accidents and other obstacles to throw you off track.
“Make sure you have adequate car insurance coverage before you hit that holiday traffic,” says Donna Cunningham, CPIA, PIANJ president. Call your professional, independent insurance agent to review your policy. Your agent can offer suggestions that will help you recover your losses quickly in the event of an accident. Should an accident occur, the value of having an independent agent on your side, will help make the claims process go smoothly and help relieve some of the stress from the loss.”
PIANJ offers some tips in case you are involved in a fender bender. Most importantly, safety comes first. If you or someone in your vehicle is injured, do not get out of the car unless you are in immediate danger. Call the police or 911. If everyone is all right, and your cars are in traffic, move them off the street and into a safe area. It can be tempting to leave the police out of it if the damage appears to be minor. However, your insurance company will need the accident report from the police to file your claim. It can delay your claim if you don’t have it.
While you wait for the authorities to arrive, exchange information with the other driver, such as insurance information, drivers license number, name, address and phone numbers. If there are any witnesses to the accident, get their information with their phone numbers. If possible, write down as many details as you can about the accident while it’s still fresh in your mind. Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to report the accident and have the claim process started. If you have a camera or camera phone, take photos of the damage to all the vehicles involved as soon after the accident as possible. This will come in handy should the other driver try to claim more damage than the accident actually caused.
“Once on the road, drive carefully and patiently,” says Cunningham. “Try not to view other cars and traffic signals as personal obstacles. Work with your fellow drivers and not against them. Give everyone plenty of room.”
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