How to drive defensively during summer months on heavily-travele - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

How to drive defensively during summer months on heavily-traveled highways

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - With more than 14 million visitors traveling to the Grand Strand every summer, more drivers on the roads can mean more accidents on major routes like Highways 501 and 17 Bypass.

To protect yourself and your money, local insurance agents say one of the most important things you want to do is secure all witnesses when you've been in a crash. Once everyone clears a scene, it can be very hard to find a witness. As long as you are safe and not hurt, get the phone numbers of the witnesses so your insurance agent can process the information in your claim.

Another important thing you need to do while on scene is take pictures. This preserves the scene so that when insurance agents and police officers are looking over evidence, there is some proof of what really happened.

The police officers will come and write a report. But, it's important to remember, the police never saw the accident. So that report is not the final say when it comes to your insurance claim.

“A police officer's report isn't an absolute," said Tony McAfee with State Farm Insurance. "Because they didn't see the accident. Your insurance company is going to do an investigation. They're going to take your version of the facts, and the law, and maybe the version of the other person's facts, and try to draw some conclusions. That's why the witnesses are very important.”

Based on those conclusions, the insurance agents will determine who is at fault, and who needs to pay up.

McAfee warns there is always a risk to just exchanging information and leaving without calling a police officer. Because there is always a chance that once the other party gets home, they can change their story. So having a police officer on scene to document both of your sides and then having witness information for your insurance agent on top of that will provide you the best possible safety net.

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