What to do After a Car Crash

Over six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. Fortunately, most of them involve only property damage – damage to the vehicle as opposed to the occupants. But one in three accidents involve personal injury to the driver or passengers and out of that number, two out of every ten accidents lead to fatal injuries.

Even a small bump or a big crash gets adrenaline pumping and shock can set in, so things can be a bit of a blur. Most people say they know what to do next, until it happens to them.

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Does the VIDEO BELOW Contradict Itself? What Would you Do?

I’m somewhat at odds with videos like this TV News spot floating around the Internet. While they cover common sense “Rule of Thumb” suggestions as to what to do once you’re involved in a car accident, there are more things to consider than the basics in this newsreel. Leaving out the details is not being of service to their audience. In this article, I attempt to rectify that situation.

If news shows are just looking for something to fill air time on a slow news day, but they aren’t going to treat an of safety subject like this with the thoroughness it deserves, then need to just do a fluff piece instead.

Besides lacking details about preparing for such unexpected events, the video seems to contradict itself 4 different times in less than a minute and forty seconds as to what you should do first. What should you do first? Call the Police, move your car to the side of the road or check for injured?

  1. The news announcer initially says: “Call the police first”
  2. The Highway Patrolman says: “In non-injury incidents, pull the car off the road”
  3. The news announcer then says: “The Insurance information Institute recommends: Stop and move your car to the side of the road road”
  4. But then the insurance underwriter says: First make sure nobody really is injured

And the video misses the most important thing. What you can do before and accident to prepare yourself for such an event.

So which is it? What should you do first? Call the Police, move your car to the side of the road or check for injured? You be the judge. The article I put together below the video makes more good ole fashioned common sense to me. See what you think.

What about Preparation and Attention to Detail

So what should you do when Involved in an Automobile Accident? What about –

DON’T MOVE!

Hopefully, if you are involved in an automobile accident, you will be prepared with the necessary safety items and tools to help you get through the aftermath of the accident, (Minor or not), with as little aggravation and anxiety as possible. This article includes a basic minimum checklist of items to have with you, some common sense advice on how to handle the situation, yourself and your passengers.

Printable Traffic Accident Check List,
Accident Report Form and Diagram
For Your Glovebox

(And don’t miss the Free Traffic Accident Diagramming Software Below.)

Here is the link to a printable Auto Accident Report Form and Diagramfor your glove box to record the pertinent details needed for your insurance company and your attorney if necessary.

What to Do After a Car Accident

Being Prepared with the Right Stuff and Handling the Situation Calmly

The following is a basic list of things you need to carry in your vehicle where you can get to them quickly and easily if and when necessary:

  • Your insurance ID card
  • Your vehicle registration
  • A list of emergency contacts
  • A medical card listing allergies to any medication, or special conditions
  • A list of medications you currently need to take regularly
  • Pens or pencils
  • A notepad
  • Flashlight
  • Road Flares
  • First-aid kit
  • Blanket
  • Jumper cables
  • Clean Rags or paper towels
  • A couple of Trash bags
  • Cell phone
  • Disposable camera (if your cell phone does not have one built in.)
  • If your vehicle is equipped with “On Star” know how to use it
  • An Auto Accident Report Form and Diagram

When You Are Involved In An Automobile Accident Don’t Move Immediately Unless It Is Absolutely Necessary

      1. Unless you are seriously injured, in danger from other moving vehicles, you smell gasoline, see smoke or any sign of fire, just sit there for a few seconds to a full minute and CALM DOWNDon’t Panic:Try to relax, take some deep breaths and take a quick inventory of yourself checking for possible injuries. If your rear view mirror is intact, take a look to make sure your face and head are NOT bleeding. Shock can mask many of your initial symptoms from injuries.Yes, your passengers (Especially children), are important and your natural tendency may be to check on them before checking yourself. But if you are injured and shock is masking the pain, moving rapidly to check on others may disable you. Then what good will you be to your passengers? If you are bleeding heavily don’t move, if at all possible, until help comes. Slowly test the movement of your neck, shoulders, arms, legs and feet.
      2. You May Be Hurt and Not Know It: Regardless of how minor the accident appears or how well you think you feel, never dismiss the possibility that soft tissue damage or Spinal Subluxations (Spinal Miss-alignments), whiplash, or other injuries HAVE occurred. See a Spinal Specialist ASAP to be safe. Subluxations may not cause pain for days, weeks, months or even years. Plan on a doctor visit to get checked out to be safe. Obviously, the same applies to occupants of your vehicle.
      3. NOW what About Your Passengers? If you’ve checked and believe you are not injured, now it is time to check on your passengers and especially children to assess their physical condition just as you have checked yourself for injuries and try to calm them as much as possible.
      4. IF YOUR VEHICLE CAN BE MOVED: Carefully move your vehicle out of the way of oncoming traffic. Preferably well off the roadway.
      5. IF YOUR VEHICLE CANNOT BE MOVED: and your vehicle did not come to rest in a safe place out of the way of traffic, but it cannot be driven, even a little; when there is no oncoming traffic and you have judged it safe to do so, get you and your occupants out of the car and to safety well off the roadway.
      6. If there is no sign of imminent danger like fire or explosion and you car is not in danger of being struck by oncoming traffic coming to rest off the roadway, leave children to seat belted in the vehicle. They will be safer there once the vehicle is no longer setting in oncoming traffic than if they are out of the vehicle and walking around. You may have to leave them unattended for a short period of time while you get help or take care of other responsibilities listed below.
      7. Once you have made the situation as safe as possible for you and your occupants NOW IT IS TIME TO DIAL 911. Depending on a number of factors when you report the accident if no one appears to be injured the police may not respond. At this point, it may pay to notice you ARE in pain or some kind of physical distress. Insist the emergency operator dispatches a policeman to the scene of the accident.
      8. Use Your Accident Safety Kit! At this time if you are physically able and can safely manage to set out road flares or luminescent triangles (From your accident safety kit), to ward off oncoming traffic; do so yourself or have an uninjured adult occupant set out the warning devices.
      9. Again, if you do NOT think you are seriously injured, it’s time to get hold of yourself and take care of business. Once you and your occupants are safe, if you can get to the glove box or console of your car, do so and pull out the brightly colored envelope that contains your blank Accident Report Form and Diagram. . .

        (CLICK HERE to print yours NOW!)

Special NOTE: 
Free Online Auto Accident Diagram Software

Take advantage of this FREE Program when you get home, so you and your attorney or Insurance Company can end up with a report and diagram about your accident that is professional looking and presentable for a court case. The site stays kind of busy so if it doesn’t load right away, try it a little later. To my knowledge it is the only site like it, so be SURE you bookmark it to your favorites.

GO TO http://www.AccidentSketch.com It is simple DRAG & DROP and COPY & PASTE – just follow the instructions.

What about other Drivers or Occupants of Other Vehicles Involved?
If you see people in other vehicles involved in the accident are in need of immediate emergency medical assistance call 911. If you are not an emergency or medical professional yourself, it’s best to wait for the professionals. If you determine it is a life or death situation and requires you act, it is a judgment call. Every situation is different. Use your best judgment. Obviously, there is no “Rule of Thumb” for a life or death situation.

Dealing with Hostile Drivers or Passengers: Regardless of another driver’s or their passenger’s attitude, you need to stay calm and as polite as possible. If an irate driver or passenger is verbally or physically abusive with you let them know you have already called the police and you will be glad to talk with them after the police have arrived and WALK AWAY! If the situation requires, and it is safe to do so, get back in your vehicle, close the doors and windows and lock the doors until the police arrive. If this happens, be ABSOLUTELY SURE you at least get the license plate number of the other drivers car in case they decide to leave the scene of the accident.

All of the above is for information purposes only and is not intended to be legal, emergency or medical advice. For your particular situation seek the advice of professionals for legal or medical advice. Probably the best advice is to think before you act and use common sense.

Drive defensively and hopefully you will never need the information in this article.

Let’s’ be careful out there and stay safe!

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