The odds are more than just high that you’ll eventually be in one or more car crashes in your lifetime. Every year, there are roughly six million motor vehicle accidents in the United States, so it’s practically inevitable.
That means it’s smart to plan ahead and have some idea of how to handle the situation when it does happen. Here are some tips:
Take these steps first
Call 911 and report the incident. Then, turn off your car’s engine and turn on your hazard lights so that oncoming vehicles can spot you more easily (even in daylight). If you have them, road flares and hazard signs can also be placed behind your vehicle for added safety.
Do not engage with the other driver except to check on their well-being and assist them if they’re injured. Do not apologize, since that could be seen as an admission of fault. You can exchange information once the authorities arrive.
When the injuries are relatively minor
If so, and everybody is able to walk away from the crash (even if they’re injured), you may want to move yourself and your passengers out of the way of any oncoming traffic. In an urban area, that may mean just staying on the sidewalk until the authorities arrive. On a highway or rural road, you may want to step behind the guardrail (when possible) to put a buffer between you and other vehicles.
Prioritize your physical safety over all other factors – but do not leave the scene of the accident. In most cases, you can be charged with a crime for that.
When the injuries are severe
Ask the police or the 911 operator to send an ambulance and leave the vehicles where they are. Don’t attempt to move an injury victim unless the situation is life-threatening. While it may create a traffic snarl, you don’t want to do anything to interfere with the accident scene, since the police may need to investigate the situation in order to establish liability.
There’s no doubt that a car crash is stressful, and you may not know what to do in the immediate aftermath to protect your interests. If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, experienced legal guidance can help you obtain fair compensation for your losses.