Q&A

What Calgarians should do if they're involved in a car crash

Calgary streets have been a little challenging to drive on lately, but do you know what to do if you're involved in a crash?

Collisions should be reported to police if damage to all vehicles involved exceeds $2K

Sgt. Colin Foster says if you're involved in a serious crash where someone was injured, you should dial 911. Otherwise, report it at your local police station. (CBC)

Calgary streets have been a little challenging to drive on lately.  

Lots of collisions and spun out vehicles are resulting in calls to Calgary police.  

It can happen to anyone, in a heartbeat.

But do you know what to do if you're involved in a collision, whether it's a fender bender or something more serious.

Sgt. Colin Foster with the Calgary Police Service's traffic section spoke with the Calgary Eyeopener's Angela Knight on Tuesday to offer some useful information.

Below is an abridged version of that conversation.

Q: What is the first thing to do if you've been in a collision. Should you call 911 or the non-emergency line? [403-266-1234].

A: First of all, the most important thing is to make sure you're safe. Once you've got your breath back and everything has calmed down a bit, try to assess what's gone on. Get your vehicles to a place of safety, get them off the roadway as much as possible.

We go to a lot of crashes, especially on Deerfoot, where people say their cars won't move, and generally speaking they will. They won't sound good, they'll make lots of horrible noises, but you can get them off the main roadway. So get them onto the shoulder.

Sargeant Colin Foster with the Calgary police traffic section gives us a refresher on what to do if you're involved in a collision. 3:14

You can exchange your details with the other parties as much as possible. Then report your crash to a local district office at a later time.

If someone is injured or your vehicle is immobilized, then you call us on the emergency number, 911. Let us know where you are and we'll come give you a hand.

Q: What if you've assessed the situation … you know no one has been injured and you think the damage isn't too bad, do you still have to file a police report?

A: You only need to file a police report if the damage is in excess of $2,000, and that's combined between the two vehicles. If the damage is over $2,000, then you are required to make a report at the police station.

Q: Why the $2,000 mark?

A: That's mandated by the province. I don't know why they chose $2,000 a few years ago. It used to be $1,000. But as we all know, it doesn't take much to get to that type of number. If you're in any doubt, go to a police station and report it.

Q: How long do you have to report it after the collision has happened?

A: It's supposed to be as soon as possible, but we try to be realistic. So as long as it's within a day or two, that's usually fine.

Q: What kind of information should we be collecting at the scene? If there are witnesses, do you get their information?

A: Anything that will help you with the report. So you're going to need the name of the other driver, registration, plate number for the vehicles involved. If you can get any witnesses, a name and telephone number is great. And we will do some of the follow up for you, especially if it is reported at the police station. Even if it doesn't meet the $2,000 threshold, then all that information will be required to let your insurance company know.


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener