Automobile accidents can happen very quickly and in the midst of the commotion, it can be difficult to think calmly and rationally. However, with some advance planning and review of the actions required in case an accident occurs, you can be well prepared.
There is a saying that goes “Hope for the best and plan for the worst” and this can certainly be applied to driving. While we always want to arrive at our destinations safely, it is a good idea to be prepared in the event that something goes wrong. Always remember to carry your driver’s license, insurance, and vehicle registration with you.
It is also recommended that you keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. The kit should contain essentials such as a first aid kit and flashlight. You can also include emergency phone numbers for law enforcement in case of a serious injury, medical information, pen, and paper. Other possible kit items include seatbelt cutters, window breakers, flares and orange cones.
Perform a Safety Check
After an accident, if you are physically able to do so, make sure that everyone in your vehicle and any other vehicles involved is safe. Immediately call 911 if someone has been injured. If everyone is physically unharmed, move to a safe location such as the side of the road or a parking lot. Turn on hazard lights and set out cones or flares to warn other drivers that you are stopped. Even if the other driver seems frazzled or upset, always remember to try and remain calm. Getting into an argument does not help the situation and could also be unsafe.
Follow Accident Procedures
Once you have confirmed everyone is okay and safe from oncoming traffic, call the police to file an accident report. You will need to provide the police with your information and also exchange the following information with the other driver:
- Driver’s and any passengers’ names
- License number of the other driver
- Vehicle License plates numbers
- Insurance information
After contacting the police and exchanging information, document everything. Take photos of the scene, request a copy of the police report, and notify your insurance company. Also, consider seeing your doctor to check for any possible injuries.
Seek Legal Advice
Even if you think you are to blame for the accident, do not admit guilt. There may have been factors that you are not aware of that contributed to the accident. Seek the advice of an experienced attorney to learn more about your rights in the event of an automobile accident.