Okay, if you’re like me who doesn’t even know where the camera icon on your phone is, you’ll most likely not know what pictures to take the moment you get into a minor car accident.
I mean, the last time I was involved in an accident, I actually took pictures of vehicles that weren’t involved. Seriously.
We all should know the steps when we get into an accident: call your insurer, take pictures and exchange particulars. But what shots should you take? I mean, we aren’t photographers, right?
So after an experience, here’s a concise guide I’ve developed: just remember PIC SF (yeah, I coined that for myself though I really hope I don’t need it in the future): Plate numbers, Impact shots, Close-up shots, Surrounding shots and Full shots.
Just a disclaimer: the very first thing you should do after an accident is to make sure that everyone is okay. And when you take any picture, make sure you’re in an extremely safe spot. I know all these are common sense, but given how many idiot drivers there are on the road, I’ve kind of given up on common sense.
So, back to PIC SF.
This is pretty self-explanatory; if the plates are still intact, just take a few shots of the plate number. Firstly, you won’t need to write down the number and secondly, you won’t have written the wrong number (e.g. is that a P or a D?)
Just so you know, no one would be offended at you taking images of plate numbers—because come on, you’re not Stomping them. You’re just sending it to your insurer.
Unless, of course, you decide to be an online warrior and post it online. Just a word of advice: don’t. I’ve friends who posted them online and I know, immediately, that they’re just humblebragging. #justsaying
This should include the damage as well. Just make sure you get a shot of all the impacts—if you’ve rammed into another car because someone rear-ended you, take both impacts.
If the impact is severe enough to cause damage to somewhere far from the impact (e.g. your wheels damaged even when you’re rear-ended), take a picture of the wheels as well.
And do everyone a favour by taking it from as many angles as you can.
Now, this is important—remember to do close-up shots of everything: from the impact to the damage to your vehicle’s exterior. While the full shots (which we’re coming to soon) might be used to gauge distance and weather, close-up shots are meant to turn a “pixelated accident scene” into something that’s clear, sharp and more understandable.
Think of it this way: close-up shots close any loopholes on how the accident took place.
NOOOO, you’re not finding the perfect shot for that #OOTD. The whole idea of just snapping the surrounding is to create a “setting” for the accident scene: is it raining? Is it sunny? Are the road conditions okay? Are there any skid marks?
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This shot is often neglected because drivers usually just focus on the vehicles involved. I’m pretty sure you can’t claim any insurance from the weather, but somehow, the surrounding (or to be more specific, the condition of the scene) is often needed by insurers.
Now, this could well be the most important photo you need. Basically, take full images of the accident, the vehicles involved and anything—whatever is needed, take a full shot.
If the condition doesn’t allow you to take them in a safe manner, then forgo this. But if it’s possible, take as many full shots as possible. When you’re reporting, you’ll need to draw (or the insurer will draw) the accident scene, and this will be extremely helpful.
Here’s hoping that you won’t need to take any of these pictures for the rest of your life!
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