By Allen Brown
Car accidents can happen to anyone, anytime, no matter how careful you are. The fact that it isn’t always your actions that lead to an accident is why you should be prepared for anything the moment you start your car.
Along with accidents comes the state of shock. Your fight or flight system kicks in, and depending on which side wins, you could feel disoriented for a while. Because of that, here are six things you shouldn’t forget in case you’re involved in a car accident.
1. Check Yourself and Your Passengers for Injuries
You’ve been hit, or you’ve hit someone. The very first thing you should be doing is checking yourself and then your passengers for any potential injuries. It’s important to understand that you’re under the effect of adrenaline at this point, which could mask pain.
Even if you don’t seem to have any injuries, they may not be as obvious. In fact, you could feel completely fine at the moment. Do your best to assess the situation.
2. Move the Vehicle Out of the Way
In case your accident is a fender bender or a generally mild one, try to move your vehicle out of the road. Depending on where the crash happened, you could still be in danger if you leave your car in the middle of the road. This is especially true for highways and similar high-speed roads. What if your accident was severe and your car is completely disabled? In that case, call the emergency services.
3. Dial 911
If you’re wondering why we chose to suggest moving the vehicle out of the road before calling 911, it’s because being exposed to high-speed traffic presents an imminent danger. Calling 911 is the very next thing you should do.
For one, you don’t know the extent of injuries suffered by the other party. Also, your vehicles could be damaged to a point where they could catch fire at any moment. It doesn’t take much to rupture a fuel line or a fuel tank under the right conditions. If you’re incapable of dialing 911, pick a person that is nearby and instruct them to do so for you.
4. Exchange Insurance Information with the Other Party
If both you and the other party are uninjured, head over and ask for their insurance information. Legal experts over at KerleySchaffer.com argue that getting this information isn’t always easy. Different people react differently to car accidents. Anger and panic are common reactions. If you find that the other party is growing increasingly confrontational, don’t engage further after getting the insurance information. In case they refuse to share insurance information, you should do your best to document the scene.
5. Document the Scene
Hit and runs are an unfortunate part of traffic collisions. If you’ve just been involved in a car accident and the other party is reluctant to give their insurance information or is trying to flee the scene, do your best to take photos of the car, its license plates, and the driver.
This information should be enough for any law enforcement agency to identify the driver, locate them, and bring them in. Fleeing the scene of an accident is a felony in many states and carries serious repercussions for the offending drivers.
Next, make sure to get in touch with your insurance as soon as possible. Give them the details of the accident, any insurance information you were able to gather from the other party, and generally follow their instructions.
6. Listen to Your Body
This last piece of advice applies to days following the accident. As mentioned at the beginning of this short guide, some injuries are anything but obvious. Make sure to listen to your body in the days following the accident. Don’t ignore any potential symptoms, especially if you start feeling nauseous, if you develop headaches or similar symptoms.
Things such as TBIs or regular concussions can take time to manifest. If you haven’t been checked immediately after the accident, head over for a checkup the moment you notice something is not right.
7. Remain Calm
Car accidents happen. They are the risk we accept to take every time we get in our cars. Following traffic laws and being a defensive driver is a good way to mitigate the risk of being in a collision.
If something does happen, try to remain calm. Panic and anger can only make things worse. Your health and the health of your passengers should always come first. While it’s impossible to practice any ‘car accident procedures’, you should have a simple plan in place just in case.