Big or small, a car accident is sure to raise your heart rate and blood pressure. It can come as a surprise to even the calmest drivers as they are rear-ended or t-boned. Staying safe is your number one priority until you can recount what happened with any other driver(s). But for those who haven’t encountered one yet, it begs the question, “What do you do after a car accident?” Like airplane safety, the best thing you can do is follow the guidelines below and enact them accordingly.
It never hurts to think, “What if I got into a car accident?” You know that there obviously is a risk of injury, so a first aid kit would be smart to keep in your car. You should also think about how traffic will react to the accident if it’s on a major street or highway, so you bring traffic cones or triangles to direct oncoming cars away if your car can’t be moved. If it’s an evening or night drive, then you should have flares to light up the road by the scene of the accident. Of course, you’re also aware that you have to talk to and exchange information with any others involved, so it helps to keep your contact and insurance policy number on hand as well. Take all the factors into account as you decide what you should keep in your car should an accident happen.
Make Sure Everyone is Ok
The very first thing you should do after a car accident is to account for everyone in your car, including yourself. If any pedestrians were involved, they should be checked. Call an ambulance if anyone is in need of it.
Avoiding Oncoming Traffic
Aside from possible injuries and car damage, traffic is another major thing that car accidents cause. It adds insult to injury when your car has been hit, and then you hear the angry horns of oncoming traffic. Make sure you turn your hazard lights on, and the other drivers follow you to the location. If you’re able to, you should move your car to a place free of traffic like a parking lot. If you’re a considerable distance away from one, then the traffic cones or triangles will come in handy.
Report it to Police
Call the police to begin an accident report which will help all parties' auto insurance providers provide a payout to who they need to. When everyone cooperates with the police, they will accurately be able to confirm the fault of the accident. Similarly, filing a report can also be done at the DMV.
Document Everything You Can
The following are some things you can gather to help build your accident report. These can all be recorded by taking a picture with your phone:
- Insurance and contact information of other drivers, pedestrians, and anyone in the cars.
- Plate numbers of each car.
- Cars involved and affected.
- Witness testimonies and contact information.
- Accident location.
- Police officers that you reported it to or met you at the scene.
Begin The Insurance Claim Process
Based on whoever’s fault the accident was, you would contact an insurance provider to begin the claims process. They will then work with you, the police, and the other drivers' insurance company. The quicker you notify them with all the information previously discussed, the quicker your claim will be resolved.
Other things to keep in mind after a car accident is:
- Do not sign anything unless it’s from the police or your insurer.
- Be supportive of everyone in an accident but don’t directly admit fault; only talk about a fault with the police or your insurer.
- Never leave the scene before it is resolved.
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