Car accidents are always a stressful and scary life event – no matter the cause or severity. It is important to always be prepared and know what to do if it should ever happen to you. After all, even the most careful drivers can be subjected to an incident like this. Memorizing these nine steps can help get you through the initial aftermath of an accident if it were to happen to you.
- Remain Calm
Although it may be difficult, it is important to remain calm and keep a clear head after a car accident. You may need to recall details that might be difficult if you cannot stay calm. Even if you are not at fault for the accident, it is also important to remain civil and polite with the other driver.
- Check for injuries
Assess the situation. Make sure that you and any passengers are okay. If you are unsure of whether an injury is serious it is best to call 911 just in case.
- Move to a safe place
Be as safe as possible in this experience. If the accident is minor, move the cars involved to a safe place away from traffic. If the accident is more serious but you are okay to move, then go to the side of the road along with anyone else involved to get away from oncoming traffic. If you do not feel like you can move, or someone else has been seriously injured, DO NOT MOVE YOURSELF OR ANYONE ELSE. Moving someone who has been severely injured or in a fragile state can do far more harm. Call 911 and wait for the professionals to handle the situation.
- Take any and all safety precautions
If your car is still functioning, be sure to turn your hazard lights on so that other drivers can be aware of the situation. Use cones to mark off the area, and light emergency flares if you have them as well.
- Call the police
Once everyone involved is as safe as possible, call he police to inform them of the accident. If the accident was a small fender bender, it is best to call the non-emergency line in the city that the accident took place. If the collision was more serious, call 911 as soon as you can to get the help needed.
- Take pictures of the damage
If you can, take some photos of the cars involved, including license plates. This can protect you from other people affected if they were to make fraudulent claims.
- Exchange information
Collect the information of the other driver. This includes their name, address, insurance company, policy number, drivers license number and license plate number. If you feel as though you caused the accident, do not claim fault with the other party. It will make things more difficult for you later.
- Stay put
No one should leave the scene of the accident until the police have arrived and a report has been filed. In most states, it is illegal to leave the scene of the accident. Stay where you are and wait for further instruction from the authorities.
- Call your insurance provider
Last, but certainly not least, call your insurance provider and report a claim.