Heavy Rains Cause Surge in Calif. Auto Mishaps

January 10, 2005

As wet weather continues to cover many portions of California, slick and flooded roads threaten to wreak havoc for drivers, according to the Insurance Information Network of California (IINC). The storm caused at least nine deaths during the weekend in Southern California, where heavy rains and mountain snows hit different areas.

Motorists having to drive in wet weather should slow down, allow more space between cars while driving and not try to navigate deep pools of water at flooded intersections.

If involved in an accident, drivers should:

— Take reasonable steps to protect their vehicle from further damage and move it out of traffic as soon as it is safe.

— If someone is injured, call the police or highway patrol. Tell them how many people were hurt and the types of injuries.

— Take notes at the accident scene. If possible, take pictures.

— Exchange and note the following information: License plate numbers; make and model of each car; driver’s license numbers; insurance identification, including name of insurance company, broker or agent, and policy number; names, addresses and phone numbers of witnesses and names and badge numbers of police officers or other emergency personnel.

— If a driver runs into an unattended vehicle or object, try to find the owner. Otherwise, leave a note with one’s name, phone number and insurance information so that they can make contact. Remember that leaving the scene of an accident, no matter how small, is a crime.

— Report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days if property damage exceeds $500.

— Do not discuss the financial limits of one’s insurance policy.

After an accident, regardless of who is at fault, it is important to immediately call one’s insurance agent, broker or company to report the incident. One should find out whether you are covered for this loss.

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