Unfortunately, when it comes to life on the road, accidents are still an all-too-common occurrence. Indeed, according to government figures in 2019 there were over 150,000 casualties arising from over 117,000 road traffic accidents in Great Britain.
Despite our best efforts, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned motorhome driver sometimes accidents happen. From driving on unfamiliar roads to tricky weather conditions there are many ways to cause an accident. And few things scarier for you and your passengers.
When an accident does happen, the choices you make in the first few minutes can have a big impact on the outcome. So, read our guide to the 8 things to do after a motorhome accident, to ensure you, your family and your home on wheels are protected for your next adventure.
After you’ve done that, remember the best way to protect yourself from the fallout from accidents is to have the very best motorhome insurance in place from day one.
Stop your motorhome as soon as possible
Even if you think it’s ‘only’ a minor bump or scrape it’s important to you stop your vehicle following an accident.
Make sure you choose a safe spot – a layby is often the best place if one is close by.
Indeed, under road traffic legislation failure to stop is an offence to which you could receive a substantial fine, points on your licence, disqualification from driving or even a potential prison sentence of up to six months.
Also, if you’ve just had an accident, it’s all too easy to forget the basics. Make sure to turn off your motorhome’s engine and then turn on your hazard lights. Keep everyone safe by alerting other road users to the accident.
A road accident can be a terrifying experience for all concerned, but it’s important to try to remain as calm as possible.
Depending on the nature of the accident your body could be full of adrenaline and you may be feeling shaky.
Take a moment for a couple of deep breaths while you take stock of the situation. And no matter who you feel is to blame for the accident, don't lose your temper.
A calm head now means you'll be far better able to make the best decisions for all concerned.
Check yourself and your passengers for any injuries
Protecting your safety and the safety of your passengers has to be your first priority.
After all you can always repair damage to your motorhome, that isn’t the case with injuries to people. So, is everyone okay and is everyone capable of getting out of the motorhome unaided?
Unless someone is injured or otherwise unable to get out, ensure all passengers are removed from the vehicle and moved to a safe place away from the road. If anyone is injured or trapped then it’s important to call the emergency services immediately.
If you carry hi-vis jackets then make sure you and your passengers are wearing them before exiting the vehicle.
Always try to get out of the vehicle away from the traffic and be careful of ditches or other hazards at the side of the road. This is particularly the case when visibility is poor or you’re on a busy motorway.
Do not attempt to move anyone who is injured from your vehicle unless they are in immediate danger. For example, there’s a suspected fuel leak, fire, or smoke.
Check on anyone else involved in the accident
If there are other road users involved in the accident, then check on them, too.
They might need your help. If no one is injured then make a note of this – just in case they later try to claim for an injury.
When communicating with others involved in the accident try not to immediately apologise or admit responsibility for the accident.
You won’t be completely aware of what has happened, and it might not have been your fault. This can protect you from liability if you weren’t in fact to blame.
Move your motorhome to the side of the road
If you haven’t already done so, and it’s safe to do so, then move your motorhome to the side of the road. If your vehicle is blocking traffic and you can’t move it then you’ll need to call emergency services to help.
After you’ve called the police or emergency services then you’ll need to wait for them to arrive.
Leave on your hazard lights to make others aware of the accident. If you have warning triangles in your motorhome breakdown kit, then place them at least 45 metres behind your vehicle on the same side of the road.
If no one has been injured you don’t have to report a road accident to the authorities, provided all parties have stopped and exchanged insurance and contact details.
If your motorhome has been so badly damaged that you can’t move it, then call your breakdown service.
If there’s injury or damage then it’s important to exchange details with everyone involved in the accident. Swap your name, address, vehicle and insurance information with the other driver.
If they aren’t the registered owner of the other vehicle (for example, it’s a company car) then try to get the details of who is. Also try to record the details of passengers or other witnesses to the accident.
An important note if you’re involved in an accident with a foreign lorry. The police advise drivers to take a note of the number plate of both the trailer and the cab as sometimes these aren’t the same. You’ll need their policy and Green Card numbers.
If you’ve hit a stationary object or vehicle then you must give your registration number, name and address to anyone who has good reason to ask.
If there’s no one else around to swap details then you should try to leave your details nearby. After all, if a witness or CCTV camera sees you but you drive off, you could end up in a spot of bother.
If you’re unable to stop, or you are unable to exchange details with the other driver then you must report the accident in person to a police officer within 24 hours of the accident.
As an additional legal requirement, if you hit a dog, horse, pig, goat, sheep, donkey, mule or other cattle then you must also stop and report this to the police.
Document the scene
Once you’ve got their details then it’s important to then record as much information about the accident as possible and take pictures if it’s safe to do so.
Use your phone to take photos of all the vehicles involved in the accident, the positions of the vehicles and any obvious damage. Other details worth recording are:
- Make, model, colour, and number plate of the vehicles.
- Time and date of the crash.
- Driving conditions, including the weather, lighting, and road conditions.
- Any relevant road markings or signs.
- Damage caused to the vehicles and where.
- Any injuries to drivers, passengers, or pedestrians.
- Any tyre marks or other debris on the road. This could be vital in understanding what caused the accident.
- The names and contact details of any independent witnesses.
Unfortunately, there have been many instances of so-called ‘crash for cash’ scams. This is where a driver deliberately causes an accident to make a fraudulent insurance claim.
You may have asked yourself whether you need a dash cam in your motorhome? This is one instance where it could prove invaluable. However, make sure you choose the best dash cam, or you may be left with poor-quality footage that won't help prove what happened.
Many drivers choose to invest in a fixed forward camera and an additional plug-in one to cover the back view, too. If any accident happens, you’ll be pleased to have footage to back up your version of events.
Whether you’re in the UK or have travelled abroad in your motorhome, it’s a good idea to gather this kind of information in any event. If you do travel over to Europe then ensure you have the right level of motorhome insurance for your trip.
You’ll also need to have a Green Card as proof of insurance. If you’re involved in an accident and fail to show one then you could be accused of driving without insurance, be prosecuted, fined or even have your vehicle seized.
And, while not compulsory, it might also be worth carrying a European Accident Statement form. This is a standardised document that helps you easily exchange details and facts of any accident.
If you’re planning on driving your motorhome or campervan to Europe in 2021 or beyond then read our useful advice guide.
Call your insurer
Even if you don’t think you’ll be making a claim on your motorhome insurance policy it’s still worth calling your insurance provider before you leave the scene. Call handlers will be able to give you advice and information you may have forgotten due to the stress of being in an accident.
The insurance claims process for a motorhome accident can vary depending on the accident cause, the type of damage, and whether anybody was injured or not. Call the experienced team at Motorhome Protect regarding any questions about the claims process.
Get your motorhome checked out by a professional
Following an accident, it’s important to get a trusted professional to inspect your vehicle as soon as possible.
Whether it’s been towed there or you drop it off the next day, the quicker you discover any internal or external damage the better.
It’s always better to get an insurance claim started sooner rather than later to avoid any potential headaches down the line.
Just because you haven’t seen any damage to your motorhome, doesn’t mean it’s not there. It could take days for damage to appear to the untrained eye.
Most common causes of motorhome accidents - and how to avoid them
The team at Motorhome Protect are no strangers to motorhome and campervan accidents – here are some of the most common causes and some advice on how to avoid them.
- Poor maintenance – The Camping and Caravanning Club recommends getting your vehicle and its habitation area professionally serviced at least once a year.
- Missed pre-journey checks – Have a ready-prepared checklist to run through before getting underway. It’s a great habit to develop.
- Exceeding the payload – Find out what the MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass) is for your motorhome and visit a weighbridge to check you aren’t exceeding it. Look for your nearest one on the government website.
- People and pets not secure – Make sure you’ve got the right number of appropriate seat restraints and a suitable pet crate, carrier or travel harness.
- Speeding and driver errors – It’s important to stay aware of your surroundings when driving such a large vehicle. Thinking about ways to combat tiredness when driving your motorhome is a good use of your time.
- Bad weather – Driving a motorhome in bad weather can be treacherous. Read our ‘How to’ guide and save yourself from common problems.
- Manoeuvring mistakes – Driving such a large vehicle can lead to costly mistakes. Investing in a motorhome manoeuvring course could be money and time well spent.
Protecting your vehicle with motorhome insurance cover
Avoiding an accident in your motorhome has to be your number one aim. But at some point, despite your best efforts, whether it’s something you do, something beyond your control, or something somebody else does, you may end up in an accident. It really is impossible to rule out everything that could happen when you hit the road. That’s why, from busy motorways to quiet country lanes you’ll want the best cover for both your vehicle and its contents.
Using our panel of insurers, we’ll search out the best motorhome insurance, tailored to your vehicle, needs and budget.
Our cover can include benefits such as:
- Cover for vehicles valued up to £150,000
- Enhanced cover for personal effects up to £3,000
- Uncapped mileage cover
- Discounts if you’re a member of a motorhome club
Call Motorhome Protect and get a quote for motorhome insurance today.
Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.