How to Avoid Being Caught Off Guard in a Car Accident
No one gets into their car planning to have an accident, but more often than not, these things are outside of our control. While we all hope for the best, it is important to prepare for the worst.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 2.3 million people were killed or injured in car accidents in 2014. Young drivers are at an even higher risk – motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15-20 year-olds. For you and your family’s safety, it’s important to have a plan in place in case of a car accident that you communicate to all the drivers in your family. Here are a few things your plan should include:
Get out of the road
After an accident, you should strive to get your car to the side of the road as quickly as possible. The presence of a crashed car in the middle of the road can lead to additional injuries. If, for whatever reason, the car cannot be moved, everyone should stay inside the car – don’t go out into a busy street! – with their seat-belts fastened and hazard lights on.
Put together an emergency kit
An emergency kit is crucial in case an accident results in injuries. The kit should include a cell phone, a first aid kit, emergency contact numbers, and a list of any medications or allergies that car occupants have. You’ll also want to include a flashlight, batteries, and road flares in case an accident occurs at night. A fire extinguisher is also a good thing to have on hand.
If you regularly go on off-road trips, out to trails, or other places where help may take longer getting to you; you’ll want to consider adding a few more items as well, such as blankets, granola and protein bars, and water. Some water bottles are packaged to have a long shelf-life.
Insurance and information
While you’re putting together an emergency kit you should consider what you’ll need to record the accident. Include paper, a pad, and a pen (to take down information from the other driver or from witnesses), a disposable camera to take pictures of the damage, and your own insurance information and contact numbers.
After the accident
Once you have safely handled the immediate aftermath of the accident, there are two things you’ll want to do. The first is getting a full checkup at the emergency room. Just because you have no visible wounds or bruises, that doesn’t mean you have not sustained any internal injuries. Car accidents can result in serious brain, head, neck, and spinal cord injuries, some of which can be fatal. It is therefore crucial that you go to a hospital and inform medical professionals that you have been in a car accident.
Finally, you’ll want to be sure to report your accident and speak to a Sacramento auto accident attorney as soon as possible. If there are no injuries, police may not arrive to the scene. However, you should still file a report with your local police department, as this record can be important for insurance purposes.