In a perfect world everyone would stay in their lanes, yield before entering intersections and use their turn signals before changing lanes. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world and car accidents happen. Being involved in a car accident is one of the biggest fears for anyone. And chances are, if you spend any amount of time behind the wheel of a car, truck or other motor vehicle, you will be involved in at least a minor fender bender. It is very important to know what to do in case you are in a car accident to ensure that the situation is handled as best as possible. Here are the top 10 things to do after a car accident.
1. Keep your calm - Being in a car accident is sure to jar the nerves of even the most level-headed person. Remember; accidents happen. Even if the accident was your fault, breaking down will not help the situation. Unless your car has burst into flames (which pretty much only happens in the movies), take a moment and catch your breath. Once you have calmed down it will be easier to assess the situation.
2. Aid the injured - If the accident was serious enough to cause injury to anyone involved, you will need to help them. If the injured party is you, do not try to move until you are sure that movement will not cause any further injury. If someone else is injured try to help them stay calm and keep them as immobile as possible. If the injuries are severe enough, make sure to call an ambulance immediately
3. Get out of the way - If there were no injuries caused by the accident and the vehicles involved are still operable, move them off the road as soon as possible. Let the other involved party know what you are doing and try to find a safe area that is large enough for the vehicles involved and any police cars that may need to be present. Getting off the road will allow other drivers to get where they need to be and help avoid any more accidents.
4. Get noticed - If you cannot move the vehicles safely; turn on your flashers immediately so other vehicles will notice you before they are on your bumper. If you have any warning devices such as cones, triangles or flares, be sure to set them out as well to help direct traffic around the accident site.
5. Call the authorities - Even if the accident was minor, and even if you were the at-fault party, call the police as soon as possible. Police involvement will help later when you are filing a claim with your insurance company or in the unfortunate event that the case has to go to court.
6. Call your insurance company - The longer you wait to call your insurance company; the harder it will be to remember the details of the accident. Another benefit of calling your agent right away is the other party is right there to get information from.
7. Be polite - Everyone involved in the accident is sure to be pretty shaken up. Even if you are fuming mad, right after an accident is not the time to be blowing your stack. Do not blame the other party at this time and especially don’t take the blame, even if you think the accident was your fault.
8. Get information - Take notes about the accident, the damage to the vehicles involved as well as the other driver’s information. If you have a camera handy take plenty of pictures to help document the damage or lack thereof. Get the names and statements of any witnesses to the accident as well.
9. Tell the truth - The last thing you need after an accident is for the police or your insurance company to find out that you were dishonest when giving your account of the accident. Even if the facts of the case paint you in a bad light, be sure to be as honest and accurate as possible to the police and your insurance agent.
10. Stay the course - Try to stay as long as you are needed. Make sure the police officers have all the information they need as well as the other party before leaving the scene. Run down your notes as well to ensure that you won’t need anything else from the other person involved.
Nobody wants to be involved in an accident; but if you follow these steps after a car accident it will make the unfortunate event much easier for everyone involved. Even if you are not the driver of the vehicle, keeping a level head and making sure the incident is handled smoothly will make it easier for everyone involved. Remember; keep a level head and drive safe!