6 Tips to Follow in the Aftermath of an Accident

We all try to be good drivers (maybe some more than others…). We check our mirrors, are cautious of our surroundings, we obey the speed limit and don’t even talk on our phones… well… you know, ideally.  Regardless, we all generally have the same goal – Don’t hit, or get hit by anything else – vehicle or otherwise (defensive driving). But despite our efforts, sometimes we can’t escape the inevitability of a crash.

If that time comes, there are some things you need to keep in mind.With your adrenaline in full gear, heart pounding, and a thousand thoughts running through your mind it’s easy to not be rational or logical. Keep your cool and assess the situation logically. Use the following tips and precautions to guide you through the aftermath of the accident.

1. Check Supplies (precautionary measure):
In your vehicle, you should have a first aid kit, flashlight, disposable camera, pen & paper and a list of allergies or conditions that may require special attention of anyone that might be in the vehicle frequently. You should also have cones, flares and warning triangles in the trunk. Having these otherwise neglected objects in your car will save you valuable time, provide a means of documentation and assist with any medical teams that arrive. In short, they are the bread and butter of any accident and shouldn’t be overlooked/forgotten about.

2. Safety First:
Once your vehicle has come to a stop, make sure everyone is ok. Call the authorities and tend to the wounded with basic first aid while you wait for help. Anyone capable of driving, sustaining the least amount of injuries, should assure that the vehicle is in a safe location that will not be of threat to oncoming traffic or those involved in the accident. Set out cones, flares and warning triangles if possible.  If you have an active subscription with GM’s OnStar, you can push the red emergency button and you’ll be connected to an emergency operator who can notify authorities.  If you’re air bags go off, OnStar will immediately try to contact you.  If you’re unconscious or unable to answer, the OnStar emergency operator will go ahead and contact authorities to send help to your exact location because you’ll be a red dot on a GPS screen with a pinpointed location.

3. Until Proven Guilty…
No matter what, do not, in any way say or suggest the accident was your fault to the driver or authorities. Do not talk to anyone other than those involved and the authorities. Anything you say can be used against you, let the facts speak for themselves and get the information of any witnesses.

4. Become a Journalist:
Start documenting the crash and the surrounding area.  Get the information of everyone involved including: Name, Address, Phone Number, Insurance Company, Policy Number & License Plate Number. If the Policy holders information is different from the drivers information be sure to write down all the information on the card and determine what the relationship between the policy holder and the driver is if he/she is not present.  Remember: sometimes it may be easier to take a picture with your phone’s camera of the other driver’s information – just make sure that the photo isn’t blurred.

5. Become a Photographer:
Use your phone’s camera to take pictures of ANY damage sustained to BOTH vehicles. You want to get as many details as possible. Get shots the entire scene & closeups of damage from multiple angles of both vehicles. These shots will serve as proof of any claims and protect you if the other driver makes false claims of damage or otherwise.

6. Don’t believe in Fate:
If there is any damage, minor or large, it should be reported and documented with your insurance company. Even if it is small damage and the other driver agrees to pay for it, you never know what will happen once you both leave the scene. Do not leave anything to “good faith”.

If you follow these tips and keep calm and you should get through an accident as well as you possibly can.  No one ever expects an accident to occur, but when one does, we all do the best we can to get through it.  Being well-prepared on the roadways will often pay big dividends in the event of a crisis.

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