Car accidents can happen extremely quickly. One minute you may be driving down the road enjoying your day; the next minute, another car may be making an illegal maneuver into your lane, which causes an accident.
While unfortunate, accidents are quite common worldwide, which is why learning to avoid common mistakes after the event is so important. By avoiding these mistakes, people can keep themselves safe while protecting themselves legally. Learn everything you need to know when an accident occurs.
How Common Are Car Accidents?
While getting into a car accident may not seem like something that will happen to the average person, they are quite common domestically and globally. On average, over five million car accidents occur yearly, which boils down to around 13,700 accidents per day. While not each of these accidents will be fatal, they still have the potential to cause life-altering injuries.
Top Causes for Car Accidents in 2023
Before diving into the biggest mistakes to avoid when an accident occurs, it’s worth covering how to avoid it. The best way to go about this is to learn the top causes of car accidents in 2023 to recognize when one may be about to occur. The most prominent causes include:
- Distracted driving on roadways due to cell phone use
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving in poor weather conditions that you are unfamiliar with
- Reckless driving on roadways without regard for others
- Vehicle malfunctions and breakdowns
- Getting behind the wheel while drowsy
7 Mistakes to Avoid When a Car Accident Occurs
Even the best drivers will find that they can’t always avoid an accident. A person can’t control the actions of others, which is why the safest drivers still need to know how to respond if an accident occurs. This can save you time while also stopping you from needing to speak to a car accident lawyer about your case. Below are seven of the biggest mistakes people make when an accident occurs:
Not inspecting yourself or others for injuries
First and foremost, it’s important to inspect yourself and others for injuries after an accident happens. If there are pressing injuries, it’s crucial that emergency services reach the scene of the accident as soon as possible to address the problem.
Additionally, adrenaline is likely to be pumping after an accident, so take a minute to look under your clothes just to double check that there aren’t injuries you aren’t feeling due to shock.
Not moving vehicles that were involved out of the road
When an accident occurs, it’s best to get all vehicles that were involved out of the roadway as soon as possible. Oncoming traffic may be thrown off by the presence of vehicles in the roadway, which can lead to a secondary accident.
In some situations, it’s possible that you may be held liable for the secondary accident if you had the opportunity to get your vehicle off of the road.
Not exchanging insurance information with the other driver
In the heat of the moment when an accident happens, many drivers often forget the number one rule of being involved in a crash: exchanging insurance and contact information.
Once you know that nobody is injured, it’s important to exchange information with the other driver so that insurance can begin its investigation.
Not taking photos of any damage at the scene
Once again, it’s easy to forget things in the heat of the moment after an accident. Beyond exchanging contact information, it’s very important that a person takes photos of the scene, damage to their vehicle, and damage to the other vehicle involved. This evidence will be helpful for insurance to have as they start their investigation.
Not contacting your insurance company
Following an accident, you should contact your insurance company to inform them that an accident occurred, but don’t give any more information until they begin the investigation.
Simply inform them that the accident occurred and that the other person’s insurance company will likely be in contact shortly.
Not cooperating with the police if they are there
When an accident happens, you should always contact the authorities to let them know what occurred so that they can come clean up any debris. In some cases, they may not send officers if everybody is alright and it was a minor accident.
However, if the police do show up, ensure you are completely cooperative with them and not argumentative. Now is not the time to tell your side of the story in the accident, especially not when tempers are flared, and you likely believe someone else to be at fault.
Not following up your accident with a trip to the doctor’s office
Finally, inspecting yourself for injuries is one thing but taking a trip to the doctor’s for a check-up is another. Don’t neglect getting a medical professionals opinion following your accident as you have no way of knowing if there was an internal problem developing after your accident.
While you may feel fine physically, you should always get the second opinion of your doctor when an accident has occurred. Tell them what happened and anything that might have caused you injury, such as hitting your head on the dash or twisting your arm in a strange way.
The Bottom Line
Nobody wants to find themselves involved in a car accident but an unfortunate fact of getting behind the wheel is that an accident can happen. Even fender-benders have the potential to cause significant damage to a vehicle or person depending upon how the vehicle is hit.
Rather than allowing the stress to build, focus on composing yourself after an accident and using all of the above tips to ensure you handle the situation appropriately.