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Car Accident Etiquette 101: What to Do After a Car Accident

Car Accident Etiquette 101: What to Do After a Car Accident

Car Accident Etiquette 101: What to Do After a Car Accident

No driver wants to be in an accident on the road, but unfortunately, accidents can happen anytime while driving. As a driver, you can only control your actions, not those of others, so it’s important to remind yourself what to do in the event of a crash.

Photo by Taras Makarenko on Pexels

How common are car accidents?

It might not be a pleasant thought, but looking at car accident rates around the world shows just how important it is to know what to do in the event of an accident. According to the CDC, approximately 1.35 million people die in road accidents each year, which translates to nearly 3,700 deaths every day.

Considering that about 0.7% of car crashes result in fatalities, this translates to an average of nearly 200 million road accidents per year, or 500,000 per day.

7 steps to follow after a car accident

While it’s certainly shocking to hear how common car accidents are, it’s important to remember that the vast majority of accidents do not result in fatalities. That being said, even the smallest accident can be dangerous and traumatic, which is why it is so important to know how to respond when one does happen.

Here are seven tips to ensure any driver handles the situation gracefully:

1. Check yourself and others for injuries

First and foremost, when a car accident occurs, you should check yourself and the other passengers in the car for injuries. Be aware that the shock of the accident itself may make you feel all right, but there may be hidden injuries.

So look at yourself visually, not by your own loneliness. In the event of a serious car accident, you are generally advised not to move until emergency services arrive, as this could have a negative impact.

2. Pull over to the side of the road if you can

Assuming the collision is relatively minor and your car is still operational, try to drive it to the shoulder as quickly as possible.

The last thing you want is to accidentally cause another accident, because arriving drivers have to slam on the brakes or give way quickly. This will also allow you to safely handle the rest of the steps on this list.

3. Exchange contact information with other drivers

With no one injured and the vehicle off the road, it’s time to chat with the other drivers involved in the accident. Be as friendly as possible, don’t show frustration or anger, just give them your driver’s license and take a picture of them.

If they’re not comfortable sharing this information, just ask for a driver’s license number and phone number (which you should verify on the spot).

4. Exchange insurance information with other drivers

After exchanging contact information, take the time to exchange your insurance information. It’s best to just take a photo of their insurance card so it can be on file and matched with their contact information.

5. Take photos of all damage

Once you’ve shared all the information with others, it’s time to take pictures of the wrecked vehicle.

Common mistakes people make at this point include not taking pictures if they don’t notice any damage, or not taking pictures of the entire vehicle. Both of these actions should be performed to avoid any potential fraudulent situations.

6. Contact the authorities if necessary

While it is not always necessary to call the police in the event of a car accident, there are certain situations where it is necessary. These requirements vary from state to state, but the most common include if someone died, if someone was injured, or if property damage exceeded a certain amount.

7. Report the accident to your insurance company

Finally, once you get home after a car accident, be sure to contact your insurance company and let them know what happened. Insurance companies communicate with each other, but they have no way of knowing if an accident happened without notifying them.

Preventing Car Accidents: Quick Tips to Keep in Mind

All of the above tips can help people stay safe and sane after a car accident. However, the best way to stay safe is to prevent car accidents from happening in the first place. The most useful tips for solving this problem include:

  • Follow the 3-4 second rule: Always aim to leave at least three to four seconds of space between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead. This is measured by finding a landmark on the road and counting when the vehicle ahead passes that point.
  • Follow the 12-second rule: Always try to scan the road for at least twelve seconds in front of the vehicle to spot any hazards that may be on the road.
  • Avoid driving in unfamiliar weather conditions: Driving in weather you haven’t practiced in can quickly lead to bad decisions, so try to stay in that mode whether you’re familiar or not.
  • Get enough sleep before driving: In some cases, driving while drowsy can be as dangerous as driving after drinking, which is why it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

Photo by C Joyful on Unsplash

Be safe on the road today

After a car accident, it’s important to remember to keep your head down and stay as calm as possible. In most cases, accidents are not intentional, no matter who is at fault. Simply assess the injury immediately to determine if emergency services are needed, then conduct business politely by exchanging messages.

If necessary, contact an accredited personal injury attorney if you believe your case warrants personal injury litigation.

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