Being involved in a car accident can be a very nerve wracking situation. You are usually shaken up and you may not think properly under those circumstances. Being prepared and knowing what to do if you get into an accident can help lessen these nerves. You will be able to think more clearly and will be able to deal with the situation at hand.
Here are some steps you can remember to follow in case you are faced with a car accident.
- Stay calm – If the accident was caused by another driver, do not get angry and start a fight. This can lead to many other problems besides a car accident.
- DO NOT leave the scene until you have resolved everything with the other driver or a police officer on the scene. Leaving the scene of an accident is called a hit and run and can lead to arrest. If you are involved in a hit and run accident where the other driver leaves the scene, look at their license plate number immediately and write it down. If possible, try to identify the type of vehicle and what color it is. This will help aid the police in finding the driver responsible.
- If you are injured, stay put – Moving while you are hurt can cause further injuries. Do not attempt to move any passengers who are hurt as well. Call 911 for help. Injured persons should be moved though, if they are in danger of being hurt worse or killed if left in the car.
- Call the police – They can assist with the injured and will help determine who is at fault.
- Turn on hazard lights – This will alert other drivers to avoid the accident scene. Place flares or cones carefully if you have them available.
- Move the car off to the right shoulder in order to avoid causing further accidents- If the car cannot be moved and it’s safe for you to leave the car, move yourself off to the side of the road to wait for help. If it’s not safe to leave the car, keep your seatbelt on and wait for assistance.
- DO NOT discuss fault with the other driver – Leave this up to the police as they are the best equipped to figure out the cause of the accident. The police will also write up an accident report to assist with insurance claims.
- Exchange names and contact information with others involved – The police might do this for you, but it’s always best to make sure you have the names, phone numbers, addresses, license plate numbers and car model information of the other drivers involved. Also, get some names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
- Visit your doctor – You may not feel any pain at the time, but it’s best to have your physician check you for any possible injuries that you may not be aware of.
- Notify your insurance company – This should be done as soon as possible in order to get a insurance claim in motion.
Sometimes you may be in a car accident where no other driver is involved. For instance, you may back into someone at a parking lot, ding someone’s car with your door or damage someone’s property. In this case, always try to locate the owner of the car or property and notify them. Do not leave the scene just because no one is around. If you cannot find the owner, leave a note securely on their car or property with your name and phone number so that they can contact you. Call the police department to notify them as well. If your car is damaged while parked in a parking lot, talk to the owner/manager of the store. They can sometimes review tapes from a security camera to help identify the car which was responsible.
It’s also very important to have your drivers license, your insurance card and a copy of car registration in the car at all times. Also, carry an emergency kit in your car that includes flares, a flash light, first aid kit, jumper cables, cones and any other safety items you might need. Be prepared!
Car Accidents: What To Do Sources: