With well over a billion cars on the roads around the world, accidents are bound to happen. While most of them are truly accidents and only happen by chance as a result of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, this isn’t always the case.
Unfortunately, there are many types of staged auto accidents that take place on the roads. A staged auto accident is when a criminal will specifically target an individual and purposely crash the car to collect insurance money. While they are most common in major urban areas, they can happen anywhere. It can be incredibly costly and frustrating, so here are some helpful tips to protect yourself from staged accidents while driving.
Have a Dash Cam
One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from any type of auto fraud is to have a dash camera. Once reserved only for police cars, dash cams are now affordable and easily installed by everyday drivers. These cameras record anything happening in front of your car, which can be very beneficial in a variety of situations.
For example, if someone pulls in front of you on the road and slams on their breaks, causing you to hit them, you have the video evidence that it wasn’t your fault. If a traffic accident or infraction goes to court, you will need to gather as much evidence as possible , and there are few better pieces of evidence than a video showing the whole ordeal. It is better to have a dash cam and never need the footage than it is to be the victim of a staged accident and have no way to prove what actually happened.
Drive With Caution
Next up, always practice defensive driving and drive with caution. The more careful you are overall, the better you will be able to stop or evade these fraudulent driving tactics. Always follow the rules when you drive, and don’t accept any right of way when it isn’t yours. Many of these fraudulent accidents occur when the victim is waved forward, even though it is not their turn to go. After an accident, the criminal will claim you are at fault because you did not follow the rules. Next, minimize any distractions as much as possible. Many fraudsters will have accomplices watching you and the moment you pick up your phone to send a text, or reach into the backseat to grab something, they will cause an accident and say it was your distraction that was the cause. Never drive distracted or use your phone on the road, and always be sure to focus on the road and vehicles around you.
Remain Vigilant After the Fact
While the actual crash is usually the start of this type of fraud, it is certainly not the end. Once a crash occurs, it is important to alert the authorities. You may be emotional or shaken, but this window of vulnerability is when criminals will take advantage of you. It’s imperative you remain alert and aware of your surroundings and what is happening. The other driver may want to simply exchange insurance information and move on, but be sure to call the police and wait until they arrive, especially if you suspect a fraudulent situation. Be sure to document the scene and any pertinent details by taking photos or videos of the damage and others who are involved. Also, watch for other warning signs and potential aspects of the scam.
For example, it is common for the original driver to have others working with him. A tow truck could appear to remove the vehicles, though no tow truck was called. Witnesses may come out of nowhere and claim they saw things that didn’t happen. Some schemes can be incredibly complex and in-depth, so pay attention when something seems off. Be as vigilant as possible, and do not accept a statement or advice from anyone ast the scene, unless you have asked them yourself.
In conclusion, following these tips will help you avoid falling victim to a staged car accident. The more steps you take to protect yourself before and after such an event, the better.