This week’s driving tips from the IAM’s head of driving standards Peter Rodger are looking at how motorists can avoid intentionally staged road accidents that force insurance companies to pay out high claims. Here are Peter’s top tips to help you stay clear of these scams.
- If you’re travelling through busy urban roads stay extra alert and use your mirrors to keep an eye on what is going on around you. If you spot a hazard early, a motorist driving erratically, or a surge of oncoming traffic make sure you slow right down and stay back until you can pass them safely.
- To help anticipate a hazard ahead, always maintain a safe following distance from the car in front of you on roads, junctions and pedestrian crossings. As a rule of thumb you should maintain at least a two second gap behind any vehicle. This will give you more time to react and slow down if necessary, especially when the driver in front of you brakes suddenly.
- Be extra cautious of motorists tailgating behind you – the car might be trying to get your attention intentionally so you look at them. Whatever you do, focus on the road ahead and ignore any gestures another driver makes. If you feel threatened, pull over where it is safe and legal to do so and let them past first.
- If you don’t think it is safe to continue with your journey simply don’t proceed. Use your judgement to make progress only when you feel it is safe to do so. Even if you think a driver is flashing their headlights to give you way, think again – they may be flashing their headlights to distract you.
- Avoid getting into arguments with the driver behind you – this will only aggravate them and increase the chances of them crashing their car into yours. Road rage is one the reasons road accidents occur – simply don’t react to another driver’s bad behaviour. If, at any point, you do feel threatened pull over where it is safe and legal to do so and call the police immediately.
- If you have been involved in a collision and don’t think it’s your fault you should call the police. And if there is a suspected injury call the emergency services. Don’t take the matter into your own hands.
- Make sure you collect all the driver’s details and take as many photographs as possible, including any images of passengers that were in their car. If the photograph indicates there are fewer passengers in the car you can reduce the potential of any fraudulent injury claims being made.
- While witnesses may be able to offer a statement, a dashboard camera can be helpful in the event of an accident to help understand how the collision happened and who was involved. You may consider installing this in your car to help protect you against accusations and insurance fraud.
- For more information on how you can avoid insurance fraud please visit: https://www.insurancefraudbureau.org/.
Peter said: “Being the victim of an intentional accident can be a very frightening thing, but you should be aware these incidents are very rare considering the number of car journeys made every day. But you can do a lot to prevent this happening to you. Always be alert of what’s going on around you, and avoid the distraction techniques we have talked about – and your journey will be drama free.”