You’ve spent a full day of tailgating in the parking lot and your team won the game! Then, as you’re heading home, another driver runs a red light, and boom, you’re involved in a crash.
Getting in a car accident is a serious and nerve-wracking experience. It often results in injuries, damage of property, and in a significant number of cases, death.
More than a million lives are cut short worldwide every year as a direct result of vehicular accidents, and about 20-50 million injuries result in disabilities, causing losses on many fronts, including quality of life and economically.
To ensure your safety, follow these steps if you ever get involved in a car accident.
Stop and Move to a Safer Place
Should you ever find yourself in a car accident, stop and do not drive away. Even if it is just a minor accident, you should not abandon the scene. Instead, pull over to the side of the road if possible, and then safely step out of the car. If moving the car is not possible, leave it as it is and move away to a safer location nearby.
Protect the Scene
If you are able, secure the scene by setting up flares or lights from your car kit or keeping your emergency flashers on – this will help other motorists recognize that a car accident has occurred in the area and your vehicle is a road hazard. This will potentially prevent other accidents from happening.
Check for Injuries
Check yourself for any injuries. Take note of any pain or discomfort. Also, look for visible signs of injury – wounds, scratches, bruises, and broken bones. With adrenaline pumping in your system right after the car accident, injuries may not immediately manifest with their associated pain, so a visual check is important.
Check on Your Passengers
If you are traveling with companions, check on their condition after taking note of your own. Once you have taken stock of the situation, call emergency services immediately to notify them of the car accident.
It is imperative to call 911 if ever you find yourself involved in a car accident to get the help that you need – in some states, this is legally required. Calling 911 will alert the authorities to the incident, as well as get emergency medical services to attend to any injured persons immediately. Making this call can sometimes spell the difference between life and death.
What to Tell the Operator
As clearly as possible, tell the operator the manner of accident you are involved in, your location, and any observations regarding injuries on yourself, your companions, and if possible, on other parties involved. This will help respond to your emergency better and faster.
In any car accident, recording evidence is important – this will help you protect yourself, assist the police in their investigation, and possibly help you with your insurance claim.
Use the camera on your cellphone to take photos of the scene, any damages on your car, injuries on yourself and your companions and any other related photos such as collateral damage on other property or pedestrians. If there are witnesses around, ask them for their names and contact numbers – their testimony may be essential later.
Aside from recording images of the car accident, you must also record and exchange the following information with the other party:
- Full name and contact number
- License plate number and driver’s license
- Insurance company and policy number
After you’ve completed all of these steps, sit tight and wait for the police and emergency medical services to arrive. Request for a copy of the police report for future use. If necessary, you may also call an attorney for legal advice.
Car accidents can happen to anyone. It is always better to be prepared and informed so that if it should ever happen to you, you would know what to do.