No one likes to think that a car accident will happen to them. Unfortunately, the numbers tell a different story. Over six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. Thankfully, most of these accidents involve only property damage to vehicles as opposed to the occupants. But one-in-three accidents involve personal injury to the driver or passengers and out of that number, two out of every ten accidents lead to fatal injuries.
Knowing what to do when an accident happens is an important part of being a responsible licensed driver. We have put together a guide to help you if you do find yourself in a fender bender that will help you in gathering information for insurance and police paperwork later as well as ways to stay safe in the moments after an accident.
The first and foremost thing to worry about if you are in a car accident is your safety and the safety of the other passengers in your car.
If you or another passenger are injured, you should immediately call for first responders such as fire, ambulance and EMTs. They can transport you to the hospital for an evaluation and treatment for whatever injuries you may have.
If you and your passengers are not injured and able to get out of the car, then exit the car immediately. Move far to the edge of the road and make sure that you are in a safe area. If possible, turn on your hazards and place road flares to warn other drivers of the situation so they will be able to give the accident space.
Unless the vehicles interfere with traffic they should be left where they are. Use the flares, lights or flashlights to warn other drivers until the police can get to the scene.
Gather Information and Evidence
Chances are if your accident was one that involved another or several other cars, you will need to fill out insurance and police paperwork. If the scene is safe, you will want to gather the following information.
- The location, including: city, state, street names, intersection information.
- The names and license information of the other drivers. If you have a smartphone just take a picture of their insurance info and their car licence plate and license.
- Images of the scene. Take pictures with your phone including the damage done to each car. You will also want to take pictures of the road conditions and streets surrounding the accident.
- If you have visible injuries take photos of that as well.
In addition to gathering these pieces of information at the scene, be sure to get copies of the hospital reports, police reports and insurance claim numbers when you fill out that paperwork.
We hope that you will never get in an accident, but if you do, these tips should help you keep a calm head and stay safe and informed in the moment after the incident.