How to Deal with a Car Accident

It’s not something we want to think about, but, unfortunately, it’s something we may well have to deal with sometime in our lifetime. Car accidents happen every day in the United States and across the globe as well.

The best things you can do is to drive defensively, and know what to do in case you’re involved in a car accident.

Most importantly, remember to stay as calm as possible. It’s hard to do sometimes, but if you’re excited and out of control, then you can’t be any help to yourself or anyone else. Take several breaths and tell yourself to relax before you do anything else.

The next thing to do is turn off the ignition of your vehicle if the engine of your car or truck is still running. Try to remain calm while you check yourself for injuries. Use a hankie to apply pressure to any wounds that are bleeding profusely. Check the conditions of your passengers too. Don’t move any seriously-injured passengers unless you feel they are in more danger by staying inside the vehicle. Otherwise, carefully help them get out of the vehicle and move to a safe spot a good distance away from the vehicles involved in the car accident. If the accident left your vehicle on the roadway, then watch for moving traffic in all the lanes.

The third step to deal with a car accident is call “911” on your cell phone. If your cell phone doesn’t work, or if you don’t have a cell phone with you, you may have to wait for a passing motorist to stop and offer theirs. Or, if you’re on a deserted stretch of roadway, you can walk to a nearby house to use their phone.

You’ll need to summon police and medical help to the scene. You may even need to ask for the fire department. In my neck of the woods, the fire department most always responds to a car accident, especially if the vehicle has flipped over, is on its side, et cetera. The dispatcher will commonly ask for your name, a description of the emergency, and for the address or a description of the location. You’ll need to give the “911” dispatcher your exact location so the rescue personnel can locate you. If you’re not sure what road you’re on, then tell him or her the names of any cross roads you know of. It would be helpful to describe landmarks you see. Examples of these include businesses, water towers, parks, and so on. Stay calm, and remain on the phone with the dispatcher until they let you know they have all the information they need to send assistance.

Once help is on the way, be sure to check on the status of the passengers of any other vehicles that may have been involved in the car accident.

The fifth step to deal with a car accident is to get the emergency road flares out of your vehicle. (This is especially important from dusk to dawn when darkness is beginning to fall.) If you don’t have any, or you can’t reach them, see if someone else has some. The flares should be set up on the roadway at least thirty yards from scene of the car accident. Place them along the side, or, on the middle line in the road so they don’t impede moving traffic in any lanes. The flares will, of course, warn other motorists to slow down, or to stop just up ahead.

In the meantime, relax as much as possible and wait for the emergency personnel to arrive. Do not leave the scene of the car accident! You can talk to the driver and passengers of any other vehicles that may have been involved in the accident. However, from a legal standpoint, according to my lawyer, it’s best that you don’t admit any wrongdoing. Keep the conversation light and avoid discussing the accident. The only person you should repeat the details with at this point in time is the police officer who takes your report. And when you’re talking to the officer, don’t lie. Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, lying can get you into trouble with the law. Tell the officer exactly what happened, but don’t offer more information than he or she asks for.

Once the officer has finished with you, then you’ll be free to leave.

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