Nobody wants to be involved in a car crash, and it can be quite a traumatic and stressful event as well. However, being prepared for the accident and knowing what you should do when you’re involved in a car accident can reduce injuries, save lives, and makes the insurance claims process easier and simpler. You need to be prepared to deal with events after an accident whenever you get behind the wheel of your car because accidents can happen at any place and time.
Most people get scared even thinking about what they will do if they get into an accident, while others freeze at the moment, not believing they have had an accident. It’s not about acting fast but about knowing what you should do when you’re involved in an accident. We have shared some of the steps and things you should do at the scene of a car accident.
Steps to Take to Prepare for an Accident
You need to be prepared to deal with things at the scene of an accident, which is why the following steps are crucial to ensuring your safety and peace of mind. Here’s what you should do to be prepared at the scene of an accident:
1. Have All Relevant Documents in the Car
You need to keep recorded proof and documents like the leasing agent’s name, proof of insurance, and your registration. You should also carry important medical information like doctor’s names and allergies for your family members and yourself. That will ensure no one is confused, and you can act fast after a car accident.
2. Keep Your Car Ready for All Emergencies
It can help you a lot if you have made your car ready for all emergencies. For example, you can keep stuff like emergency signage, flares, and orange cones so that you can keep your vehicle safe on the side of the road after an accident. Also, even though we are reliant on technology, it can fail in an accident when you need to record details for the license plate or phone numbers, which is why you should keep a pad and a pen in your car.
3. Ensure You Have the Necessary Insurance Coverage
You need to ensure that you have got adequate auto insurance coverage, which will protect you from paying the damages your car has sustained in the accident. Even though an insurance policy doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be safe and healthy, it does reduce your stress levels when you know that you won’t need to fork out large sums of money for car repairs after an accident.
Steps to Take at the Scene of an Accident
Now that we have covered all the steps you should take to be prepared for an accident, it is time we looked at what steps you must take at the scene of an accident. Here’s what you must do:
1. Be Careful
The first thing you need to do is pull over to the side of the road and determine the extent of the accident. Don’t get involved in a heated argument or a fistfight if the accident was caused due to a road rage incident. You need to be calm and careful, and if you were hit from behind, ensure that robbers are not carjacking you. Try and pull over in an area that has plenty of lighting and is safe.
2. Check for Injuries
The health of everyone in the vehicle comes first, so check if anyone is injured. Call 911 immediately if you notice that anyone, even the driver at fault for the accident, is injured. Your priority must be to eliminate any possibility of people suffering at the scene of the accident.
3. Check Damage Done to Your Vehicle
Once you have checked on everyone and ensure no one is injured, you should assess the damage done to your vehicle in the accident. Again, it would be best if you took pictures to record the extent of the damage, which you can show later to your insurance company.
4. Never Hit-and-Run from a Scene
If you hit into a parked vehicle, don’t leave the scene but instead look for the vehicle owner. If you’re in a hurry and can’t stick around, you should leave a note on the vehicle with your phone number, name, and address. Also, record all accident details like the accident’s address and the vehicle’s make and model.
5. Try to Gather as Much Information as Possible
The more information you collect at the scene of an accident, the easier things will be afterward. Therefore, get the contact information and names of everyone involved in the accident, including the witnesses at the scene. Ask other drivers for their car registration, license, insurance ID card, and the makes and models of all the vehicles in the accident.
You should also note the time of day, the weather conditions, and the accident scene location. You can easily record all this information by using your smartphone and document all the car accident details.
6. Inform the Highway Patrol or the Police
It’s always a good idea to get law enforcement authorities to handle the situation when you’re involved in a serious accident, especially if people are injured. You should inform the highway patrol or the police about the accident to resolve the matter in a civil manner. Get the badge numbers and names of the police officers at the scene and request if they can provide you with a copy of the accident report.
7. Start the Claims Process
You should inform your auto insurance company as soon as possible after the accident because the longer you wait to tell them, the harder it becomes to remember all the details. That will complicate matters in the claims process, and you won’t get the compensation you deserve.