Safety Tips - What to Do After a Collision

Over six years operating a tow truck for AMA’s Roadside Assistance team, Brandon Klassen has pretty much seen it all. From a quick winch out of the ditch to clearing the scene of a major collision, Brandon has had a close-up view of how stressful the experience can be for drivers.

When you’re in the moment it can be hard to remember just what to do first: do you call the police? Your insurance company? How will you choose a repair shop? Will the tow truck driver steer you in the right direction? And if you have trouble with the repair shop, is it going to cost you an arm and a leg just to get your keys back?

Good questions! Lucky for us, Brandon, who oversees AMA’s rural tow operations, has these safety tips.

  • Stay Calm and Assess the Scene

    “If there’s been a collision, check on all the drivers and passengers to make sure they’re safe,” says Brandon. “Do a quick survey of the scene and if people need help call 911 immediately. If there is a traffic hazard, try to help people out of harm’s way. If there’s no immediate risk, you can call the non-emergency police number. Once the vehicles are cleared from the scene you can call the toll-free number on the back of your insurance pink card so they can advise you about next steps.”
  • Be Aware of Unsolicited Help

    “If you didn’t call a tow truck, but suddenly there’s one trying to hook up your vehicle, stop and ask questions. Did the police authorize the tow? Have you heard of the tow company? Are there reviews online? Ask about towing and impound fees and never agree to repairs without a written estimate. Be wary of anybody who’s pressuring you into making quick decisions.”
  • Gather Some Information

    “If the combined damage to both vehicles is over $2,000, you’ll need to file a collision report with police. And if one or more vehicles aren’t drivable you need to call police to come to the scene. Exchange names, registration, driver’s licence info or take a photo with your phone. Take pictures of the damage to both vehicles and their positions. And if there are witnesses, get names and phone numbers just in case there’s some dispute about what happened.”
  • Find an Approved Auto Repair Facility

    “If you don’t have a trusted mechanic or body shop, you can find an AMA-inspected and approved repair shop nearby using the free AMA mobile app. That gives you the confidence to know you’re protected. If you don’t have a good experience, AMA can help our members resolve any disputes.”
  • Beware of Cash Deals

    “If another driver offers you cash to avoid involving your insurance company, be cautious about their intentions. And if a tow operator or repair shop is warning you about increased premiums and offering under the table deals, that should raise a red flag.”
  • Let Your Insurance Company Handle the Details

    “Sometimes we hear horror stories coming out of big cities elsewhere, where a tow operator gets a fee to drop you at a crooked repair shop and they hold your vehicle hostage with unfair storage and processing fees. With an AMA truck or one of our service contractors you know things are on the up and up. Letting your insurance claims advisor handle the arrangements gives you peace of mind knowing your claim process has started and they can recommend a repair facility they’ve worked with if you need help finding one you trust.”

“Collisions are never planned,” Brandon says. “One minute you’re cruising along and the next minute you’re trying to deal with what just happened. When you’re at the side of the road and maybe still in a bit of shock, it’s natural to feel vulnerable about what happens next.”

When I'm not busy advocating for safer roads and communities, I can be found advocating for my children to eat their vegetables and clean their rooms. I'm committed to helping AMA members find the confidence to live their best lives.