car accident can be extremely unsettling, particularly if there are injuries involved.
To make ensure that you know how to respond, it is important to understand
what to do
beforethe accident occurs.
Below are a few guidelines. Take the time to familiarize yourself with
them and share them with the other drivers in your family! Better yet,
keep a copy in your car in case you need to consult them should you find
yourself in a car accident.
- Stop your car and find out if anyone is injured.
- If you can’t get out of your car — or it’s not safe to
try — keep your seat belt fastened, turn on your hazard lights,
then call 911 if possible and wait for help to arrive. If you can drive
your car and are in an unsafe spot or are blocking traffic, find a safe
and legal place to park your car (like the shoulder of a highway or a
- Tell 911 how many people were hurt and the types of injuries. Also, let
the dispatcher know exactly where the emergency is taking place. Give
the city, road name, road number, mile markings, direction of travel,
traffic signs, and anything else you can think of to help them know how
to find you. They will notify the nearest medical unit.
- Cover injured people with a blanket to keep them warm. Remember, not all
injuries can be seen. That’s why it is often best not to try and
move an injured person.
- Try to protect the accident scene. If it’s safe to get out and move
around your car, set up orange cones, warning triangles, or emergency
flares around the crash site.
- Ask the investigating officer where you can obtain a copy of the police
report. You will probably need it when you submit your claim to your insurance company.
- Make notes. Keep a pad and pencil in your glove compartment. Write down:
the names and addresses of all drivers and passengers involved in the
accident; license plate numbers; the make and model of each car; driver’s
license number; insurance identifications; the names and addresses of
witnesses; and the names and badge numbers of police officers or other
- If you can, make a diagram of the scene, including the locations of the
vehicles before and after the crash.
- Even if you think it was your fault, it might not be. Therefore, you should
not admit fault or accept blame at the scene.
- Keep records of your insurance claims, medical bills, missed work, and
crash-related expenses. These documents will be extremely important if
you pursue a lawsuit.