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Driving Skills 101: Experiencing with a Painful Car Accident

Volvo Accident Crash Test Safety NCAP

According to the Royal Malaysian Police, there were 402,626 road accidents recorded from January to September 2022, resulting in 4,379 fatalities. This marked an increase from the previous year. In 2023, nearly 600,000 road accidents were reported, with 12,417 resulting in fatalities. Image source: WIRED

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The Past Accidents

No one asks for it but accidents are unavoidable since you share the space with other drivers who may be speeding over the limit and be reckless when driving. Our experience with a bad car accident was back in 2014 when a truck hit my wife’s car at a junction. It was clear that it was the truck driver’s fault as he did not follow his lane. Police reports & insurance claims were made but in the end, the car was not as good as before the accident.

Th second accident was towards the end of 2016 when my car was hit by another car at the toll plaza. The other driver realized that he did not have enough credit on his Touch N Go card so he decided to change lanes. The damage was so bad that the front right portion of my car was almost gone. I wanted to go through the proper process but the other driver wanted to settle without going through the police.

I was not keen because there was a risk of him not keeping his promises thereafter. After some discussion and consideration, I decided to agree to his settlement. Later I found that the other car had an expired road tax and the driver had taken his father’s car without permission and this is why they did not want to go through the police.

The Recent Accidents

One has to rate the year 2024 as an unlucky year considering we have 2 major accidents for cars at home just months apart.

Accident No 1

This happened in the residential area, not far from home when a lady driver did not stop at the junction, look left & right before entering the main lane. She hit my wife’s new car on the right causing broken side mirrors and multiple dents. The driver tried to run away but eventually stopped a few meters away.

She wanted to settle without making a police report but the amount she offered was not great and we could not find her insurance details (we eventually found it online). Further, she was driving an old car so I knew her insurance coverage may not be enough to cover the damage. This may cause part of the cost of repairs would come from our car’s insurance.

My wife’s car was still driveable so we decided to only send the car for repairs once the police report was done and insurance cleared the claim. In the meantime, my wife can still drive the car for her daily use. There was nothing that was impending the car structure so we don’t expect any further damages from continuing to drive.

Accident No 2

Months later, we were all out for lunch and my son was driving then. Just a few kilometers from home, whilst we waiting in queue at the traffic light, another driver hit us hard from the back. This accident caused our car to inch to the front & hit another car although it was not as hard as the one we experienced. This was thanks to my son stopping with plenty of space between his car and the car in front.

The car that hit us from the back was new compared to our car so I knew the insurance would be sufficient to cover the damage. The other driver admitted that he did not have enough cash with him so he told us to make a police report and claim from his insurance.

For the car that we “hit” in front, we could not see any damages other than some minor scratches on the bumper. So I told the driver to check & get the bumper polished. I will pay cash for that as I did not see the point of making another police report for that and paying more in summons & loss of NCDs.

For our own car, the damage was obvious with dents and misalignment of the rear chassis as we could not close the boot. Surprisingly there was no damage to the body paint and the rear lights. However, we did not mind the dents and focussed more on getting the alignment fixed so that we could close the boot.

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Understanding the appropriate actions to take following an accident is crucial for ensuring safety and preparedness. It’s important to remain calm, assess the situation for any immediate dangers, and call emergency services if necessary. Exchanging information with any other parties involved and documenting the scene can also be vital for any subsequent legal or insurance processes. Being mentally prepared for such events can significantly reduce stress and confusion, allowing for a more composed and effective response.

Step 1 – Police Reports

In both cases, we called the insurance company’s hotline numbers immediately after the accident and were advised on what we needed to do next. They offered towing services but we did not require it as both cars were drivable.

Before we can get the insurance company to pay for the repair costs, we need to submit the police report & the outcome of the investigation that firmly shows that the other party is guilty 100%. Thankfully both cars had dashcams although we did not have one facing the rear for the second incident.

For the first incident, it was a clear-cut outcome as the other car was supposed to stop and enter only when there was no traffic and the dashcam had a clear recording of this. We can make the initial police report at the nearby police station but we still need to go to the district headquarters for submission of documents & inspection of the car. We did not want to waste time so we decided to go directly to the Traffic Police counter at the district police headquarters which was some 35 kilometers away (about an hour’s drive).

For the second incident, it was the same process but since the place accident was different, we had to go to another district headquarters which was 15 kilometers (about 30 30-minute drive).

Overall the process at the police station is as follows:-

  • Fill up the form at the entrance with your personal & car details
  • Go to the counter for the police report to be typed by the officer in charge. In both instances, the police officer preparing the report was polite. courteous and meticulous.
  • Attend an interview with the investigating officer and this is done on a one-to-one basis.
  • Wait for the police photographer to take photos of the damages. Note: in the second incident, the police photographer was out for prayers so my son took the photos of the damages himself & forwarded the photographer’s mobile. If the photos were not clear, then we need to wait for the photographer or come back another day.
  • Once done, wait for 14 days for the investigation results to be out. Note: even though it is a straightforward case, you still need to wait for the mandatory 14 days.

Step 2 – Insurance Claim

It will be 2 weeks before we can get the first car sent to the authorized body & panel shop for repairs as the insurance company needs the outcome of the police investigation. Until then, there is nothing much to do.

In the meantime, we follow up on the police investigation and call & make an appointment with the authorized body & panel shop and the insurance company’s claims adjuster to assess the damage to the car and the expected repair cost and get started on the documentation after the 14th day.

For info, we did not opt for an insurance claim for the second accident because we already knew the time taken before the car was repaired. We could not afford the waiting time because we needed to get the boot repaired on an urgent basis. We decided to pay for the repair cost ourselves and see if we can be reimbursed by the other driver although we have made the police report. This way we were able to send the car for repairs the very next day itself.

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Vehicle repair after a major accident requires specialized equipment and expertise, particularly when it comes to realigning the chassis. A properly aligned chassis is crucial for the safety and drivability of the vehicle. Workshops with the necessary tools and trained mechanics can ensure that a car is not only restored to its original condition but is also structurally sound to withstand future impacts. Without these capabilities, a workshop may not be able to guarantee the safety and integrity of the vehicle post-repair.

Step 3 – The Car Repair Process

If your car is not drivable, expect your car to be lying unattended at the workshop, waiting for documentation, insurance clearance, number of cars waiting for repairs at the workshop, and availability of spare parts. In the case of the accident back in 2014, the car was left unattended for almost a month. Even so, the quality of repair was below par and unsatisfactory.

This time around, we insisted on getting the car repaired at the manufacturer’s official body repair center so that the repairs were close to the original specifications and using the original spare parts. We requested urgency to get the car repaired as soon as possible as we were using it for daily use and we did not have any spare cars.

To avoid the car being left unattended at the repair workshop waiting for spare parts, we were asked to send the car only when the parts were ready & the mechanic could start work immediately. This means we can still use the car until it is time for repairs which took about 4 days to be completed and this includes repainting, tyre alignment, and quality checking.

Final Say

Being involved in an automobile accident can indeed be a highly stressful experience, not only due to the immediate concerns of health and safety but also because of the lengthy and often complex aftermath that follows.

The process of reporting the incident to the authorities and insurance companies is a procedural necessity that can be time-consuming and fraught with bureaucratic hurdles. This phase often requires the collection of detailed information, coordination between multiple parties, and a waiting period namely the 14 days for the police investigation to be finalised, adding to the distress of those involved.

Furthermore, the pursuit of insurance claims introduces another layer of complexity. Navigating through the terms and conditions of insurance policies, understanding the extent of coverage, and negotiating the claim amount can be daunting tasks. The intricacies of insurance paperwork and the need for accurate documentation add to the burden, making it a meticulous process that demands attention and patience.

Once the claims are settled, the focus shifts to the repair of the vehicle, which brings its own set of challenges. High-quality repair work is crucial to restore the car to a condition that is as close as possible to its pre-accident state. However, even the most skilled repair and bodywork may not return the vehicle to its original glory. The nuances of factory painting, for instance, are difficult to replicate in a local body shop.

In conclusion, the ordeal of dealing with an accident extends beyond the immediate impact. The administrative and repair processes that follow are complex and can be sources of significant inconvenience and concern. It underscores the importance of having comprehensive insurance coverage, a reliable support network, and access to skilled repair services to navigate these challenges effectively.

While it is nearly impossible to replicate the exact condition of a car post-accident, the aim is always to achieve the highest quality of repair to ensure safety, functionality, and appearance. Understanding these realities can help individuals prepare for and manage the aftermath of an accident with greater resilience and informed expectations.

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