What to Do If You Hit a Parked Car

There is nothing scarier than driving through a parking lot or on a small, dark street and hitting a car. Hitting a parked car often causes people to panic, leaving them worried and wondering what to do. First, it’s important to know that you aren’t the first that this has happened to and you will not be the last. It is important to know what to do if you hit a parked car, especially if the owner of the vehicle cannot be found. It is essential that you understand the law regarding hitting a parked car and that you do not run from the scene of the accident without first taking the steps required for your safety as well as the owner of the vehicle. Here are some tips on what to do should you hit a parked car.

Don’t Panic

First, stop the car and calm down. Make sure you aren’t hurt and that your passengers aren’t injured. if you or your passenger are injured, call 9-1-1. If you are able to move your vehicle, move it to the side of the road or if you are in a parking lot, move your vehicle out of the way of traffic. Keep in mind that safety is the first priority, so do not hesitate to call 9-1-1 if there are any injuries.

Do Not Hit and Run

A hit and run accident means that you have hit another vehicle, either in motion or parked and you flee the scene of the accident. This is a crime, and the consequence will depend on the state you are in, but it may include fines, jail time, and/or points on your driver’s license. If you leave the scene of an accident, the police can use surveillance cameras and other evidence to identify you and arrest you. If you hit and run, it will also generally cause your insurance rates to go up. The best thing to do is to look around the vehicle for the owner. It’s important that you make a reasonable attempt to find the owner of the vehicle. If there are witnesses, ask if they know who the owner is.

Leave Your Information

If you hit a parked car, you must make an attempt to locate the owner of the vehicle and notify them of the accident. If you aren’t able to locate the owner it’s important to leave a note on the vehicle that includes your information, including name, address, phone number, and a brief explanation of what happened. Place the note under the windshield wiper, preferably in a sealed sandwich bag to prevent it from getting wet. Leaving a note helps prevent you from being accused of a hit and run. Do not add any incriminating information to the note and do not admit fault; make the note as simple as possible.

Take Photos

Use your cell phone to take photos of your vehicle, damage to the other vehicle, their license plate, and several views of the other vehicle. Also, don’t forget to take a photo of the note and where you place it on the other vehicle. This information will help protect you should the owner of the other vehicle attempt to accuse you of fleeing the scene.

If there is noticeable damage or an injury, it’s important to contact the police. States vary on their requirements if you hit a parked car, so the best thing to do is to contact the police and let them know that you have hit a parked car and that you left your information with the vehicle. Once you get home, you should contact your insurance provider to let them know about the accident. Insurance companies want to be notified of any accident, even if you couldn’t find the owner of the other vehicle. Let the insurance know will protect you and the insurance company, so call as soon as possible to let them know.