What would you do if you hit a parked vehicle?

Man on his phone looking at accident damage to the door of his car

Taxi drivers take great pride in their driving and looking after their vehicles, but accidents do happen.

So when a bump is your fault, it is your pride as well as your car that is left dented . . . and if you hit a parked car with no one around, the temptation might be to drive off and not tell anyone. Worryingly, according to Hippo Leasing, almost half of drivers (46%) said that is exactly what they would do if they hit another car.

Not only are people prepared to do it, Hippo Leasing found that Brits are turning to Google to find out how they can get away with it and what happens if they are caught. The phrases “how many points for hitting a parked car” were searched 140 times per month and “I hit a parked car and didn’t leave a note” 90 times per month.

It is not only unfair to expect an innocent driver to pay for repairs that weren’t their fault, if the fleeing driver is traced, the consequences could affect their livelihood as a taxi driver. They would be facing up to 10 points on their licence and an unlimited fine for failing to stop after an accident or failing to report an accident. As well as severe financial consequences, their taxi insurance premiums would shoot up and the local authority might revoke their taxi licence.

If it was a parked taxi that was hit and the driver fled the scene, it would be unfair for the taxi driver to foot the bill for repairs or see their taxi insurance premiums increase because they had to make a claim. They would also lose business while their taxi is off the road.

Hippo Leasing managing director Tom Preston told Taxi Point: “You could be punished with an unlimited fine and up to 10 penalty points on your licence for failing to stop or report an accident such as hitting a car.

“If you have been involved in an accident and the other driver leaves the scene without giving you their details, you may be able to claim through the Motor Insurance Bureau.”

While it is worrying that 46% of drivers surveyed admitted they would not tell the owner about damage to their vehicle, more than half (54%) said they would own up to bumping or scratching another vehicle, with others saying it depends on the extent of the damage.

However minor a bump or scratch might be, the law is clear about a driver’s responsibilities as well as the penalties for ignoring them.

Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, the driver of a vehicle involved in a road traffic accident which causes injury to another person or damage to another vehicle, property or animal must stop at the scene of that accident to exchange details including name and address, insurance and details of the vehicles involved. Failing to do so is an offence, even if it is a minor accident.

It is also worth taking photos of the scene and any damage, as well as noting the position of all vehicles involved and any traffic signs or restrictions.

If anyone has been injured, police and the ambulance should be called straight away. The police should also be called if the accident is blocking the road or if there is a suspicion of foul play, such as insurance fraud or “crash for cash”.

If a parked vehicle has been hit and the owner isn’t around, you should leave your details on the windscreen and report the collision to the police within 24 hours. Failing to do so could result in a fine, penalty points or even a driving ban.

You should also contact your insurer and inform them about any collision, even if you do not go ahead with a claim and they will advise you what steps to take next.

All information is correct at time of publication. Information provided within this article may have changed over time. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by John Patons Insurance Services or any of its employees.