Traffic accidents are unpleasant, sometimes tragic events. And they usually don’t only concern the participants themselves, but also thousands of people around, who then have to wait in queues or make a difficult detour. Thus, damage is not only caused to the health and property of the direct participants in accidents, but also to others, sometimes also to communication and the environment.
The entire issue of traffic accidents is dealt with in § 47 of Act 361/2000 Coll., in which a traffic accident is defined as “an event in road traffic, for example an accident or a collision, which occurred or was initiated on a road and in which a person is killed or injury to a person or damage to property in direct connection with the operation of a vehicle in motion”.
What to do after a traffic accident
The obligations of drivers and accident participants are fairly clearly defined in Act 361/2000 Coll. in § 47, but let’s simplify it a bit into a more comprehensible form.
If you have just been in an accident, stop the vehicle. And stop even if there was no direct collision with your vehicle, but you were probably still involved in the accident. Example? You enter the intersection from the side, there is a motorcyclist driving along the main road, who takes the brakes and puts the motorcycle on the ground without hitting your car.
Immediately after the accident, secure the vehicle against further movement (if at least the parking brake is working), turn off the ignition, turn on the hazard lights and make sure that you can safely exit the vehicle. Above all, immediately make sure that everyone is okay and that no one needs emergency first aid. If so, call an ambulance immediately. In the case of obviously larger accidents, it is better to call 112, which will coordinate all components of the ISZ.
Since an accident is a very stressful thing, it happens that some of the participants, or even all the participants, are not able to call for help. Whether due to injury or psychological shock. If you are sick, shaking and can barely hold the phone in your hand, ask for a witness who was not directly involved in the accident. Although the media and politicians try to tell us otherwise, people are not fundamentally bad and usually someone will always help you. The phrase “I can’t make it, can you please call for help?” saves precious seconds if, for example, someone is injured. Since an accident is a very stressful thing, it happens that some of the participants, or even all of the participants, are not able to call for help. Whether due to injury or psychological shock. If you are sick, shaking and can barely hold the phone in your hand, ask for a witness who was not directly involved in the accident. Although the media and politicians try to tell us otherwise, people are not fundamentally bad and usually someone will always help you. Saying “I can’t make it, can you please call for help?” saves precious seconds if, for example, someone is injured.
As a participant in a traffic accident, you are allowed to drive traffic. If you know that driving the traffic at the scene of the accident is beyond your power (busy intersection or busy road, confusing place), you need to call the police. An authorized person, for example a witness, may also drive the traffic until her arrival.
Put cars aside only in some cases
Let’s go back to stopping the car after the accident. But don’t overdo it with the “full brake” stopping after an accident in cases where it is obviously a minor collision, such as a tap on the mirror. If the vehicle is still drivable, try to steer it to a safe place and stop there. There’s nothing more stupid than clogging up a huge intersection at rush hour just because you scraped your mirrors with someone.
In this case, park the cars somewhere to the side so that they do not block traffic. Then, in a safe place, agree with the other driver to resolve the accident. Be careful with vehicles from rental companies, leasing companies and, in general, with vehicles owned by someone else. Sometimes it may be necessary to call the police even for minor collisions. But if it is not a serious accident requiring immediate assistance from the police, then you wait for their arrival.
As a participant in the accident, you are obliged to cooperate and cooperate in the investigation of the facts. You are also obliged to prove your identity to each other upon request and provide details of the vehicle that was involved in the traffic accident. Participants in the accident can take photo documentation. But beware of taking pictures of the inside of someone else’s car and other participants in the accident. You are invading someone’s privacy.
When to call the police?
There is also discussion about when an accident needs to be reported to the police. This is described relatively clearly in paragraph 4) of the above-mentioned section and of the law: “If a traffic accident results in the death or injury of a person or in material damage apparently exceeding the amount of CZK 100,000 to any of the vehicles involved, including transported items.”
And this also applies in the event that “during a traffic accident, there is material damage to the property of a third party, with the exception of damage to the vehicle whose driver is involved in the traffic accident, or damage to things transported in this vehicle, damage or destruction of a component or accessories of a road according to the Act on Roads or participants in a traffic accident cannot themselves ensure the restoration of the flow of traffic on the roads without making unreasonable efforts”.
If you are going to call the police, do not tamper with the cars in any way so that they can document and investigate the situation. But there is an exception. Cars can be moved “if (…) the situation caused by a traffic accident has to change, especially if it is necessary to rescue or treat an injured person or to resume traffic on roads, especially the traffic of public transport vehicles”. It’s just that if a cyclist has his foot under the wheel of a car, it’s reasonable to jerk the car a little.
It is still necessary to add to the above-mentioned wording of the law that you should always call the police when the participants in the accident are unable to agree together on the fault of the accident. People can have different views on the interpretation of road traffic rules, so if there is no agreement on who caused the accident, the police should be called to the scene. It is also necessary to add to the above wording of the law that you should always call the police when there are no participants accidents able to agree together on the fault of the accident. People can have different views on the interpretation of road traffic rules, so if there is no agreement on who caused the accident, the police need to be called to the scene.
When do you not need to call the police?
Simply put, it is in those cases that cannot be included in the above-mentioned group, i.e. when there is no personal injury, damage to the property of a third party or communication equipment, or it is obvious that the damage to the vehicles will not exceed CZK 100,000. In addition, all participants in the accident must agree on who is to blame for the accident.
In the case of minor collisions that result in only minor damage to the car, there is no leakage of operating fluids and no one was injured, it is enough to write together an accident report, which you should carry in the car. This record must contain the identification of the place and time of the traffic accident, its participants and vehicles, its causes, progress and consequences. We remind you again that it still applies that all participants in an accident are obliged to cooperate and share their information with other participants. You can also call witnesses, but of course you cannot force anyone to testify.
Then solve the whole thing only with the insurance company. However, we recommend documenting everything. If you have any doubts or the other party to the accident is unwilling/unable to cooperate, you should always call the police.