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Information Connection: Collision handling tips

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Car Accidents Happen: Tips for Handling Collisions

(ARA) Overland Park, KS--Last February, Gretchen Kraft's commute started off like every other day. Then, while driving to work in rush hour traffic, the 28-year-old Kansas City native rear-ended the car in front of her. "I was so hysterical, I didn't know what to do," Kraft said. "It's a good thing the other person involved in the accident remained calm and handled the situation."

Is she alone in not knowing what to do after an accident? Surprisingly, the answer is no.

"A driver's reaction immediately after a crash is vital to ensuring the safety of all individuals involved, and to getting your car back on the road in the same condition it was before the accident," said Lirel Holt, founder of CARSTAR, the nation's largest provider of collision repair services.

The importance of knowing what to do in an accident is alarmingly clear. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 6.7 million police-reported traffic crashes occurred last year in the United States. Of those crashes, more than half (3.45 million) involved injuries.

CARSTAR offers these important safety tips for what to do in case of an accident:

  • Remain calm. Panicking will only make matters worse. Take a few deep breaths and relax.
  • Assess the situation: Are there any injuries? If so, medical attention should be provided by professionals only. How extensive is the damage? Move the cars only if necessary, and then to the side of the road or to a nearby parking lot.
  • Call the police: give all pertinent information (name, location of the crash, make of vehicles involved) to the dispatcher. - Exchange information with the other person(s) involved in the crash. This includes name, address, license numbers and insurance information. - Get the names, addresses and even license numbers of any witnesses. - Do not admit fault in an accident. The police will issue a ticket if blame is warranted. - Contact a reputable collision repair specialist to have the car towed to a facility and start the insurance process.

Unfortunately, for many drivers the stress does not end when the accident is cleared. Dealing with the right collision repair specialist is important to getting the car back on the road. But what does one look for when considering collision repair? "If you've been in a car crash, you want the repair process to be a hassle-free experience that delivers your car back to you on time and in great condition," Holt said. Consumers should seek out collision repair specialists that are certified. Two typical certifications are ASE, or Automotive Service Excellence, and I-CAR, the Inter-Industry Conference on Collision Repair, which provides the latest technical training in collision repair.

Some collision repair specialists also offer additional services like claims handling assistance, towing or free pick-up and delivery. Additionally, consumers should check if the facility guarantees its repair work.

In the end, the goal is to get the car on the road again and to get back into the daily routine. Hopefully, a little wiser.

And as for Kraft?

"If I were in an accident today, I believe I would handle it better," she said. "It's unfortunate that I had to learn the hard way."

For more information about what to do in an accident, visit CARSTAR's website at

If you want to handle repairs or upgrades yourself, check out this resource: replacement parts.

CARSTAR Automotive, Inc., based in Overland Park, Kan., is the nation's largest provider of quality collision repair services with more than 250 locations in the United States and Canada. To locate a dealer near you, call toll-free (800) CAR-STAR (227-7827).


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