11 Things To Know Before A Car Accident

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OneFather’s Day I was in church when our daughter, Alex, whispered that our other daughter, Abby, had been involved in an automobile accident.

The good news is that God had angels around her car and she walked away from a head-on accident (at a slow speed). In thinking about the experience, it occurred to me that it would be helpful for folks to know what to do in cause of an automobile accident. After some research, here are the 11 things that you should know BEFORE an automobile accident according to the insurance company experts.

1. Prior Proper Preparation. At the least,carry your cell phone in your car along with a charger. If you don’t have a cell phone, have change in your glove compartment so you can make calls to your key contacts.

The glove compartment of your car should carry all your important information in an easily-identifiable location. This should include: medical information (allergies, conditions, medications, etc.), your insurance and a copy of your registration card. It’s also good to have a camera (if possible) in the car along with a sheet of paper and an ink pen. Take photos of the accident scene and all the cars involved.

You should also have a flashlight and basic first aid kit available. It’s advisable to have a road flare. The flashlight batteries should be replaced on a routine basis.

2. Safety First. If it’s a minor accident with no serious injuries, you should move the vehicles out of the way of oncoming traffic. Leaving vehicles in the middle of a busy intersection could cause another accident. If your vehicle can’t be driven safely, turn on your emergency flashers and stay in your car with the seatbelt fastened.

3. Exchange Information. If the accident is a minor fender bender, then you should exchange the following information: name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number and license plate number for the driver and the owner of the other vehicle. Also, if it’s a minor accident, write out a description of what happened. Make sure you get the accident report number along with the name of the investigating officer.

4. Keep it to yourself. Regardless of whether it’s a minor or major accident, never volunteer information as to whether or not the accident was your fault, even if you think it was. The other driver could have made a bad decision without you seeing it. Let the law enforcement officer make the proper determinations.

5. Witnesses. It’s very important for you to determine if there are any witnesses to your accident. My daughter had three people stop and offer to serve as witnesses for her. If no one stops, then focus on the license plate numbers of anyone at the scene of the accident. This important step calls for immediate action before witnesses can get away.

6. Call someone close to you. Call your spouse, a relative or close friend. In almost every case, accident victims can be confused and dazed. Under no circumstances should you drive after an accident. Even though you may feel normal…oftentimes it is after the excitement is over before the victim realizes the real impact of the accident.

7. Pre-select service providers. Have phone numbers available for your insurance agent if you are charged with the accident. Have at a tow company and body shop in mind. Otherwise, you will be at the mercy of the tow truck and impound operators selected by the law enforcement officer. Having the proper information can ensure that you don’t have to pay deductibles or exorbitant fees. Also have your membership card number available for any association like AAA or AARP.

8. Don’t leave the scene. Never ever leave the scene of an accident unless the damage is only a parking lot door ding. Immediately call the police. Next, call your previously selected tow company or body shop.

9. Don’t drive your car. In my daughter’s case, even though Abby’s car would run…the officer recommended against it because the airbags hadn’t deployed during the accident. We were told that the bag sensors could be damaged and cause them to deploy without notice with just the slightest bump.

Additionally, fuel, brake or cooling lines could be leaking which may cause further damage to the car and/or engine. There are times when a damaged car may seem operational but the slightest movement, i.e., turning a steering wheel may expose more serious problems that are not readily available to the naked eye.

10. Use caution in dealing with the other driver(s). Before you ever get out of your car…call 911 and report any injuries in your car. Use wisdom in dealing with other drivers. This is especially important at night as you never know who’s in the other car and what their temperament is. It could be a drunk driver, a group of upset teenagers or someone without moral values or any concept of right and wrong.

11. Review these procedures with family. Make sure that you carefully review all of these procedures with other members of your family, particularly young drivers. I suggest that you review them at least once a year.