Insurance and Finance

When Tensions Rise  

By Lisa Martin 8.20.14

Like a tension-filled scene in an action movie, you find yourself face-to-face with the blustering driver of a vehicle in the aftermath of a fender bender or other minor accident. Whether or not the fault of the wreck lies with you, the other party seems about two seconds away from losing his cool. What happens in the next few minutes can make all the difference in the outcome of the situation, rendering it either an unfortunate blip of a mishap or turning the crash into a tragedy with far-ranging repercussions.

“Everyone knows people can get really worked up to the point they’re scary,” says Clayton Stillwell, the Texas Farm Bureau Insurance agency manager in Hearne. “Your job, if you’re in any kind of accident, is to trade insurance information with the other driver and to get their name, address, and policy number. Just collect that information and go back to your car if possible. There’s no point in trying to stir up any emotions.”

If the driver seems overly upset or alarms you in any way, retreat to your car, lock yourself in, and phone the police.

While you’re waiting for the authorities to arrive, jot down notes about the mishap including the precise location, time, and what you recall happened during the incident. Then stay put.

“Don’t deal directly with anyone who seems abusive,” says Stillwell. “Staying safe needs to be your first priority.”