What To Do When You Are Involved In A Traffic Accident
Getting into an automobile accident will almost always be a frightening experience. It will certainly be frustrating and will most likely become expensive. However, with some advance preparation and by following a few steps, you may find that surviving a car accident is possible, even under the worst conditions.
How to Prepare Before an Accident Happens
Whether you have one car or several, each one of your automobiles should be outfitted with some emergency supplies and an emergency safety kit. There are a few things such as a spare tire, an owner’s manual, and paperwork, such as the registration and insurance information, that are probably kept in your car at all times. There are several other items to include, however, that will make your response to an accident easier or could even save your life in certain situations.
- Jack, jumper cables, sealant for tires, filled toolbox, important fluids, fuses, spare headlamps, gas can
- Emergency blanket, bottled water, snack food, fire extinguisher, gloves, first aid kit, auto escape tool
- Paper, pen, emergency contact phone numbers, cell phone, battery-powered radio
- Flashlight, fire extinguisher, duct tape, flares
Step-by-step Response to an Accident
- Safely Stop Your Car
It is illegal all over the country to leave the scene of an accident. So, whether you bumped another car while parking, you were rear-ended on a highway, or you involved in a major pile-up, always find a safe place to park and promptly pull over. This doesn’t mean that you can leave the scene and park a mile away, either. Just be sure that you have moved out of traffic and that you aren’t creating another dangerous situation. If you are tempted to just drive off, remember that you could be held legally and criminally liable if you leave.
- Get Help For Anyone With Injuries
When you are involved in a multiple person accident, you are somewhat responsible for the welfare of everyone else who was involved. You must proceed with caution, however. Begin by asking the other people if they are okay. If anyone has been hurt, call 911 or the police to get professional assistance. If you attempt to administer any time of medical care without the appropriate training, you could cause a great deal of damage. This will only make a bad situation worse.
- Call the Police
If there are no injuries, you will still need to contact the police. These officials will talk to the different people involved in the accident and may have questions for any witnesses. Most of the time, you won’t be able to get payments or assistance from you insurance company without the official police report. No matter how small you may feel the damage to your own car is, you will need to involve the police. This step will protect all of the parties and is vital to receiving coverage through your insurance company.
- Gather Information
As you share your information and gather information from the other people involved, it will be very important that you share and receive the following five pieces of information:
- First and last names
- Current addresses, phone numbers and other contact information
- License plate numbers and driver’s license numbers
- Name of the insurance companies and contact information
- Make, model and year of the other involved cars
- A record of the time and date of the accident, the location of the accident, the types of injuries and how bad the injuries appeared
- Name and badge identification for the police officers who are at the scene of the accident
If you have the resources available, you may want to snap a few pictures of the accident and the area where the accident occurred. If any court proceedings result from the accident, you will be glad that you were prepared with the added information.
- Get Medical Attention
Even if you are feeling fine right after the accident, it is important that you get medical attention. You may want to head into a local hospital or you might be able to schedule a visit with your primary medical care giver. Hopefully, you will be given a clean bill of health. However, if you begin to suffer from symptoms which are a result of the accident and you had NOT visited with a doctor, then you probably won’t get any kind of assistance from your insurance company.
Prevention Is the Safest Course
The very best way to survive an accident is to prevent one from occurring. This isn’t possible in all situations, but you can take some steps to make it more likely. Consider enrolling in a defensive driving class or consulting with your auto insurance provider. These are two great resources for finding information about safe driving, being prepared for an accident and how to best respond.