It is well known that the rate of accidents on the road is greater than when compared to any other means of transportation.
On average, 3,700 people are killed in road accidents every day, this means that on average, the number of accidents that occur on the road is likely to be above that number, as not all accidents are fatal.
Some accidents just leave bruises on the vehicles and passengers, some are just little scratches on the body of the vehicles involved and the passengers aren’t even affected in any way.
These accidents vary vastly from mild to fatal, as daily drivers misinterpret traffic signs, vehicles develop faults midway as they are driven, and then collide with other cars on the road.
Since these accidents vary in intensity, can you hit a car without knowing? Can you be in an accident or collide with a car so mildly that you don’t even know when it occurred? Let’s find out!
Can You Hit a Car Without Knowing?
Yes, you can hit a car without knowing that you did until when you stop and take a good look at your car and notices the scratch on your car, then you will know that actually you hit someone somewhere without knowing.
However, hitting someone without knowing doesn’t happen all the time. It is very rare for you to hit a car without knowing.
Rare, but possible, especially if you are driving a very big car, like a huge jeep, or a truck and you have put the music on a top volume. In this instance, if you scratch a car mildly, there’s a chance that you won’t even know.
It has happened to me. I can testify to that. When I was going to work one day, I hit someone by the side without knowing I did. It was when I got to work and parked, on getting down to lock my car, that I saw a scratch and some remnant of the car paint that I hit.
I had to start recalling back. It was then I realized when it happened. I had used the side of the front end of my car to hit the person without any of us knowing.
Also, some drivers are very inattentive to the happenings on the road and even if they weren’t driving a huge truck, or have music on, they might not know that they have hit a car and simply continue, especially if nobody calls their attention to it.
Another way you can hit a car and not know is if you are in a hurry to reach your destination and you are perhaps on a high acceleration.
You might just speed off and scratch a car unknowingly and not even have the chance to process what had happened as you’d already be miles away. You might simply be wondering if you hit a car, or if it was just the sound of your accelerator.
Another way you can hit or scratch a car unknowingly is if you’re driving on a dimly lit road at the night, especially in crowded places, markets, or noisy expressways.
Again, when the traffic is congested, this might be another recipe for hitting a car and being oblivious about it.
What To Do When You are Told You Hit Someone’s Car
When you realize all of a sudden that you hit a car, or your attention is called to the accident, and you find out that you have scratched someone’s car, the first thing you must do is remain calm.
The worst has happened, there is no point panicking and crying over spilled milk. Remain calm so you can process the information you are getting and prepare for the most appropriate action.
The most instinct of humans would be to remove themselves from the situation the fastest way possible, and so people are tempted to just run away, especially when the owner of the car you hit isn’t even present (a parked car).
However, as a responsible road user, you should not run away from the situation. Do not hit and run. If you flee the scene, you would be labeled a criminal, because you have just done a criminal act and you will be charged for it when you are caught.
If it is a parked car, do your best to look for the owner and be responsible for your action. If after searching reasonably, asking passers-by or eyewitnesses, you still can’t find the owner, and can’t find anybody to stand in for the owner or assume guardianship of the car, you wait.
That is the law. You are not meant to drive away from the scene of the accident. If you are in an unavoidable hurry, leave a note after hitting the car that contains your contact details with a brief message of what happened so the owner can reach you (if it is just a scratch and not complete damage).
Next, you want to report it to the police as soon as possible. Legally, you are meant to call the attention of law enforcers before you leave the scene.
If the owner is present, you still have to lay your account with the cops so that there are no loose ends. Usually, you have nothing to fear as long as you are taking responsibility.
In situations where the owner of the car is absent, do well to take pictures and make videos of the car, with a focus on the parts of the car affected by the hit.
Also, try to talk to eyewitnesses who saw what had happened, if the owner isn’t present. However, if the owner is present, you don’t have any business with eyewitnesses.
Your business is with the owner of the car. Have a civil conversation about what has happened, lay the facts out, and take responsibility for whatever fault you have caused.
Finally, whether or not it is a parked car, after you hit a car, or get involved in an accident, mild or grievous, call your insurance company and also your lawyer immediately to inform them about the incident and the appropriate next step to recoup losses and also avoid or get ahead of any litigation process.
To recap, when you hit a car, or when you’re told you have hit a car;
- Don’t panic. Be as calm as possible.
- Do not flee the scene. Don’t run away or drive off without addressing it. You’d be considered a hit-and-run driver and labeled a criminal.
- If the owner of the hit car can’t be located, leave a note containing your name, phone number, address, and any other relevant details.
- Report it to the relevant law enforcement.
- Inform your insurance company and your lawyers to get the appropriate step to take.
What If You Hit Someone Without Knowing?
If you had hit someone without knowing and later got to find out because of the scratch or other paint on your car. You can try recalling back to know if you can get an idea of when the incident occurred.
If you can’t seem to remember, then there is nothing much you can do than to wait and hope the person contacts you.
However, if you have a dash camera in your car, you can go back and watch the footage. From there, you will see when the incident happened and hopefully to get the plate number of the car and give the person a call.
It is better to call the person first after finding out that waiting and hoping the person doesn’t call you. This is because, if peradventure the victim has dash cam too which recorded the incident, he or she may report the incident as a hit and rin which is a crime punishable by law.
Do You Have To Report a Minor Accident to the Police?
No matter how minor the accident is, if it involves an injury to persons or properties, you have to report it to the police.
However, the law differs according to different states. Some states insist you report the accident if damages are over $1,000, some states require you report it irrespective of the damage done.
Also, along with the laws guiding reports in your state, it is advised you report within 24 hours of the incident. If you can, report it immediately, even before leaving the scene.
What if You are Arrested for Hitting a Car Without Knowing?
If you are arrested and charged for hitting a car without knowing, you should get your lawyer involved immediately, especially if you are being charged for a hit-and-run.
You should also do everything you can to cooperate with the investigation to ascertain what happened. Ensure you don’t come off as defensive or hostile, and ensure you follow your lawyer’s instructions and be ready to take responsibility for your actions.
Seeing that you weren’t aware, the best thing to do is cooperate and fully commit yourself.
Tips on How To Avoid Hitting People’s Cars Without Knowing
Here are some tips on how to avoid hitting other people’s cars on the road without knowing:
- Concentrate on the road. Be very attentive while you are driving.
- Don’t put the loudspeakers at a volume so high that you can’t hear any sounds in your environment. It is very dangerous.
- As much as you can, avoid rowdy roads, and avoid accelerating on roads known for traffic congestion.
- If you have to drive at night, ensure that the road, or at least your headlights are fully lit so you can see your surroundings.
- Keep learning about safe driving and road safety. Follow the road signs, pay attention to road markings, and be aware of other cars and drivers in your environment.
It is very rare to hit a car without knowing, especially if it has a high impact. You might scratch a car without knowing when you’re not fully aware of the road, however, once your attention has been called to it, ensure you commit yourself completely and take necessary responsibility for your actions.