Before hitting road for holiday

Accident app aims to keep drivers safe

acoyne@thestate.comJuly 3, 2013 

  • If IN AN ACCIDENT, check this list

    Stop your car and get out of traffic. South Carolina law requires you stop, even if you can still drive. If there are no injuries, you are required by law to get out of the way of other cars.

    Call the police or sheriff’s department, even if you were at fault, and stay until an officer arrives.

    Talk to the other driver. Exchange insurance and contact information.

    Take photos for insurance purposes.

    SOURCE: S.C. Department of Insurance

— As drivers hit the road for summer holidays and vacations, a new smartphone app aims to assist them in the event of an accident.

WreckCheck, an app made available by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, provides tips and tools for drivers to use after a wreck.

Tips are available on what drivers should do if they are involved in an accident. But just as important, they are advised on what not to do. The tips should make filing insurance claims easier and should protect drivers from being taken advantage of by others, according to Ann Roberson, a South Carolina Department of Insurance spokeswoman.

“It’s important that you share your information with the other driver, but you don’t want to tell them everything,” Roberson said. “You want to be careful about what you give out.”

For example, the app warns users not to allow anyone they are in an accident with to make copies or take photos of their driver’s license. Instead, it prompts drivers to exchange insurance cards and contact information.

“You give different things to the driver than you would to a police officer,” Roberson said.

The app was created after NAIC conducted a study that revealed most drivers would share their driver’s licenses with people they have gotten into an accident with, which could lead to identity theft, an NAIC release said. Driver’s license information is sometimes used to verify a person’s identity over the phone.

The app originally was released in August 2012, but the Department of Insurance began encouraging drivers to use it just before today’s July 4 holiday, when many drivers hit the road to visit family or vacation at the beach.

“In this holiday season, a lot of people are out,” Roberson said. “You need to be on your toes and know what to do if you get in an accident.”

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