Accidents can hit any of us at any time. This might not sound like a very comforting fact, but it’s an important one to remember. We don’t want to assume that we’ll get into any incidents on the road and, indeed, we should take measures to prevent them and reduce the likelihood as best as possible. However, accidents and collisions do happen and sometimes there is little that can be done about them.
As such, it’s important to have a game plan for the event of getting into such an incident on the road. A cool head and some forward-thinking can make sure that you take the right steps.
Secure yourself and the scene
The first step to take is to make sure that you and any passengers are safe and, if it is safe to do so, check on anyone else involved in the collision, too. Turn the hazard lights on in your car and keep the vehicles where they are unless they are blocking traffic. It’s a good idea to keep some high-visibility triangles in the car as part of your emergency kit to help make the scene more visible so other drivers can slow or navigate around it.
Don’t speak for yourself
Aside from making sure that everyone involved is okay, you don’t want to speak too much for yourself when it comes to the aftermath of a collision. The simple reason is that you don’t know what can be used against you when it comes to proving liability. If you’re not at fault, it’s a good idea to get in touch with the emergency services first, your insurance provider second, then a car accident lawyer third. They can advise you on what to say and how to act to make sure that you don’t inadvertently get yourself into some expensive trouble.
What to do with the old car
Though your personal safety will likely come first in the order of priorities, and your legal liability second, you are going to have to consider what to do with your car eventually. If you can fix it, then that’s likely to be your course of action but when it comes to what to do with a write-off car, you actually have a few more options. You can accept whatever offer is made by your insurer, but you might be able to get more money for it by selling it off for salvage or even trading it to a dealer.
Keep all your financial records
You should get seen by a doctor after a collision, even if there are not quickly identifiable external injuries. Some, like whiplash, can take a while for their effects to become noticeable. Otherwise, you should make sure that you’re gathering any financial documentation, be it hospital bills for personal injuries, as well as any costs for repairs from the mechanics. If you end up having to take time off work and lose money as a result, you should take note of how much you lose, as well. Whether you go with an insurance claim or a legal claim, this documentation can be crucial for making sure you get the cover that you need.
Anticipate some emotional after-effects
Given their hazardous nature, it’s easy for us to assume that the injury incurred in a road accident is going to be predominantly physical. However, that’s not necessarily the case. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a more common impact after road accidents than you might assume. If you feel that you are experiencing panic attacks, outbursts of anger, or any other changes in behavior that are becoming more noticeable, then you may want to get in touch with a counselor. You may have trauma that you need to get some help in working through.
Getting the confidence to go back on the road again
Even if your experience emotionally is not quite as severe as developing PTSD, a lot of people are going to be shaken following an accident, meaning that they may not feel confident getting behind the wheel any time soon. That is entirely understandable and no one should rush you into doing so. However, taking a gradual start and learning to drive again can help you acclimate back in a little more gently. This can also include taking defensive driving courses so that you feel a little more confident about being able to gauge, identify, and mitigate risks on the road in the future.
With the tips above, you can be a little better prepared for any incidents on the road, not just what you can do to prevent them but what you can do to ensure the best outcomes after them, as well.
This is a collaborative post.