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Crash for Cash
As a driving instructor it is my responsibility to teach all my pupils to drive ‘safely for life’, as well as training them to pass the driving test. During a driving lesson a pupil will be taught how to deal with junctions safely as well as a wide range of everyday situations. However, pupils will soon notice that no two lessons are alike. Learning things like driving at appropriate speeds for the road, traffic and weather conditions change as often as we change our socks. Awareness, anticipation and planning ahead to deal with a wide and varying range of hazards is an integral part of learning to drive.
Particular close attention needs to be paid to following basic road safety procedures, which always need to be followed religiously as accidents can happen when you let your concentration waver and when you least expect it! This is particualry important at junctions where effective observations need to be made.
Cash for crash and what is it?
Cash for crash is an insurance scam that has been around for years. The government and insurance companies have attempted to clamp down on it and even passed laws. But it is still a huge problem for innocent motorists and insurance companies. It is basically where another unscrupulous motorist can cause you to crash your car into them, make it look like you were at fault and make a fictitious personal injury claim on your car insurance.
What does it look like?
It can be hard to spot, but when you know what you are looking for, it can help to avoid it. Here are a few examples, but let me state first that not all accidents mentioned here are ‘crash for cash’ and some are genuine mistakes and genuine accidents.
Giving misleading signals
A ‘crash for cash’ could be where someone gives you a signal or flashes there lights at you and then denies it! For example – you are sitting waiting to emerge at a junction and a car approaches, the other car is signalling to turn into the junction, so you decide it is safe to go. Next, Bang! They hit the side of your car and deny signalling, insisting that you pulled out in front of them, making the accident appear to be your fault.
This can be easily avoided – you should have been trained on all of your driving lessons not to pull out at a junction until the approaching car has committed to turning into the junction. Do not be tempted to go, wait! There are reasons why you should be trained to do this. Also occasionally someone may genuinely make a mistake and signal incorrectly and then change their mind, then continue to drive on without turning.
Another motorist may well flash their headlights at your from time to time. This is reasonably common when someone wishes to give your priority or to give a simple thank you. The official reasons for someone to flash their headlights at you is to make you aware of their presence or of a hazard ahead. However, flashing of the headlights is a day to day occurrence and is frequently used. So it is important as a driver that you do not ignore someone flashing their lights at you. Someone maybe just being considerate – so make your own judgement before you respond!
The ‘crash for cash’ criminal could flash their lights and pretend to give you priority then you could fall into their trap. Make sure you give careful thought to the flashing of headlights and respond if you are sure it is safe to do so. Also just as a side note, make sure they are flashing at you and not someone else in the vicinity.
Sudden braking, whether it is another motorist suddenly braking for no apparent reason, cutting in front of you and braking or braking to avoid their accomplice a few cars ahead – causing you to crash into the back of them! In insurance terms it is normally always your fault if you drive into the back of another vehicle and can be almost impossible to prove otherwise. So the ‘crash for cash’ criminals have and still are taking full advantage.
Make sure you always keep well back from the vehicle ahead of you. Do not get too close. Remember the ‘2 second rule’ that your instructor will have taught you on your lessons. This is the recommended amount of room to allow for braking at most speeds, in good weather conditions.
Too many reasons to list
There are so many reasons that could be listed in this post. So many that it would just drive you crazy thinking about it. One thing to remember is that the criminals who are carrying out this crime are very creative. It is not always easy to spot, but as a driver be aware at all times what is going on around you.
Commit to drive safely, focus, concentrate and drive in a way that is passive and not aggressive. Do not take risks you can minimise the chance of falling prey to these people.
Dash cams are an excellent tool that can easily be installed in most cars. Now a days they are also relatively in expensive as well. Install a front and read dash cam so that you can provide evidence if you think you have been the victim of a deliberate ‘crash for cash’ scam. It can also be helpful to prove who was responsible in the event of any genuine accidents.
*Note not all insurance companies will accept dash cam footage as proof!!