Being in a car accident is an emotional, frightening, and exhausting experience.
Figuring out what to do after a crash can also be overwhelming. At the minimum, you’ll have to exchange information with the other drivers involved in the accident. You should always be prepared—this means keeping a pen and paper, some type of camera, and a copy of your insurance card and registration handy.
Here are some additional tips to help you remain calm and stay safe after an accident.
Stop—You are required by law to stop and exchange information with the other drivers involved in the accident—no matter whose fault it was. Additionally, if you don’t stop after an accident involving property damage or injury, you could face criminal charges.
Don’t Panic—You should remain calm, call 911, and pull your car out of the way, if possible. If you or anyone else needs medical attention, you should tell the 911 operator. Use your hazard lights—as well as flares, if you have them—to alert other drivers to the accident.
Check for Injuries—If you think you might have injured your head or neck, try to remain stable. If you’re able to get out of your car safely to check on your passengers as well as the other driver and to assess any damage to the vehicles, you should do so.
Get Out of Your Vehicle, If Possible—You and your passengers should safely get out of your vehicle, if you can. If the accident is really bad, your car might not be the safest place to wait for help. Even if it’s just a minor accident, you and your passengers will probably be safer standing on the side of the road—as far away from your vehicle as possible in case it’s hit by another car. If you’re injured then you should keep your seatbelt fastened, be sure your emergency hazard lights are on, and wait for help.
Call a Tow Truck—If the accident isn’t too bad, you can probably drive your car home or to a garage so you can get it fixed. On the other hand, if you’re at all worried about the condition of your car, it’s better if you call a tow truck to avoid the possibility of being stranded on the side of the road later.
Getting into a car accident isn’t pleasant, but following these tips will help the experience go as smoothly as possible as well as keep you and your passengers safe.