After years of being behind the wheel, it’s only natural to be slightly desensitized to some of the common dangers of the road. To be fair, not many people are likely to experience a car accident throughout their career on the road. Just because a car accident doesn’t happen to the majority of people, however, doesn’t mean they don’t happen at all.
In fact, car accidents are quite common on accidents on a global scale. Not knowing how to respond when an accident occurs can get drivers in serious trouble and even lead to secondary accidents. To that end, learn everything there is to know about being involved in a car accident so that you respond appropriately if you are involved in one.
How Common Are Car Accidents?
As mentioned, car accidents are extremely common on roadways around the world despite popular belief. In studies from recent years, it was found that there were over five million reported accidents in the United States alone. Keep in mind that it isn’t always required to report accidents to the police depending on the state you are in, meaning the actual number of accidents is likely far higher.
Are Car Accidents Dangerous?
Not only are car accidents common in the United States, they are also extremely dangerous. While it’s true that only a small percentage of car accidents, relatively speaking, end in fatalities, nearly 50% of car accidents result in injuries. Each of these injuries can range in severity from being nearly harmless to extremely serious depending on the type of car accident.
5 Steps to Follow When Involved in a Crash
Given the fact that car accidents happen quite often, all drivers should learn the steps to follow in the event they are involved in an accident. Specifically, the following five tips can help any driver respond appropriately when a crash occurs:
Inspect yourself and others for injuries
First and foremost, assuming you aren’t involved in a hit and run accident where the other driver leaves, the immediate step to take is to inspect yourself and others for injuries. Remember that when shock sets in right after the accident, you may not notice any injuries that aren’t present right away. Check under your clothes to be sure that there is no serious injury and then check up on the other people involved.
Move operational vehicles to the side of the road
Once an accident occurs and you are certain there are no injuries in your vehicle, get your car to the side of the road as quickly as possible assuming it is operational. This will help to ensure that other drivers don’t accidentally collide with your stopped vehicle causing a secondary accident.
Exchange information with the other driver(s)
Once all vehicles involved in the crash have been moved out of the road, the next step should be to exchange key information with the other driver(s) involved. This information should include your insurance information and your driver’s license so that the other driver(s) can contact you in the event they need to.
Take photos of any damages to report to the insurance
It’s important to document any damage that occurred to the vehicle(s) involved, no matter how minor it may seem. While it’s nice to believe that everybody will be completely honest in life, some people may damage their vehicle after the fact and claim that they caused the damage in the accident. Without photo proof, this can cost you money.
Contact the authorities if necessary
Finally, depending on the state you live in, it may be necessary to contact the authorities after the accident. In general, if there were injuries in the accident then you will need to report it, but there are smaller nuances for when involving police may be necessary.
Helpful Tips for Avoiding an Accident in the First Place
While knowing what to do in the event of an accident is important, knowing how to avoid an accident in the first place is even better. Below are some effective tips to keep in mind which can help a person stay safe on the road:
Leave Enough Following Distance Between Cars
Following too close to another driver on the road can quickly lead to an accident that results in many injuries. It is always advised to leave at least three to four seconds of space between vehicles on the road to maximize reaction time. This means you will have enough time to take evasive action or simply brake suddenly if needed.
Don’t Drive in Poor Weather Conditions
Poor weather conditions are a major cause of accidents on U.S. roadways and globally. The main reason for this is that drivers are unprepared for the conditions due to a lack of practice and then they make bad decisions that cause an accident. Therefore, all drivers should either practice in different weather conditions in a safe environment or they should avoid driving in bad conditions altogether.
Never Mix Substances and Driving
While it shouldn’t need to be said, drinking and driving is a bad idea that can lead to many horrible accidents, not to mention the fact that it’s illegal. Going further, do not take drugs and then get behind the wheel of a vehicle either. Substances impair a person’s ability to drive by affecting their reaction time and decision-making abilities, as well as motor control.
Remove Distractions from Your Vehicle
Finally, remove any and all distractions in your vehicle that may take your attention away from the road in front of you. Whether it’s a phone, food, or even a person who continues to draw your attention away, take the time to remove these distractions so that you can dedicate your full attention to the road.
Keep yourself and others safe behind the wheel
Staying safe behind the wheel of a car is about more than just watching the road in front of you. It requires being a defensive driver, as opposed to an offensive, and being ready to take evasive action at any moment. With that said, though, some accidents are unavoidable which is why knowing how to respond in the event of an accident or, better yet, avoiding an accident altogether, should be the goal of all drivers.