Car accidents happen, and even when you do everything in your power to drive defensively and avoid a collision, there could be a time when despite your best efforts you find yourself involved in an accident which is why now is the best time to learn the proper way to respond.
Secure Your Car
The first thing you need to do is to make sure your car is secure. In this case, it means shutting off the engine and getting out of the car as quickly as possible. While car accidents rarely cause fires, there’s always a chance that a random spark could ignite some gasoline. Shutting off the engine is the best way to reduce the risk of a post-accident car fire.
Even if you’re too severely injured to leave the car, try to turn your vehicle off.
Perform a Wellness Check
Take a quick moment to make sure that neither you nor any of your passengers are injured. Sorting out the details of the accident is important, but not nearly as important as making sure everyone is in one piece and not in immediate need of medical attention.
Rather than trying to reach the police directly, you should call 911. The dispatcher will send the nearest police officer to the scene as well as the EMTs if you say that someone sustained injuries. Don’t worry that more than one person has contacted 911. If there are multiple calls about reporting the same accident, the dispatcher will deal with the issue.
Try to stay calm and keep your voice understandable while you’re on the phone with the 911 dispatcher. The information they need is how many vehicles were involved in the accident if there are any apparent injuries and the accident location. The calmer you remain, the easier it will be for the dispatcher to do their job properly and to get help to you as quickly as possible.
Create a Record of the Accident
It’s not a bad idea to create a record of the accident. Yes, the police will create a report, but having your own record adds more credibility to your version of the events when you file your insurance report. More importantly, creating your own record of the incident also helps cement details surrounding the accident into your memory, which makes it easier to answer any questions the police or insurance company will have.
File a Claim
Once you are satisfied that you’re safe, you need to let the insurance company know what happened. They will advise you on the best way to proceed.