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Car accidents create a very stressful and emotional environment. The safety and stress-level of you and any other drives involved in the accident is dependent on how you deal with the unanticipated accident. The following steps should be kept in mind every time you drive so you are prepared for the possibility of an accident.
Know Your Insurance
In the event of an accident, you should know what your insurance covers and what it doesn’t. The confusion and highly charged atmosphere immediately following an accident is not the time to be figuring out whether or not your insurance company is going to pay for damages.
Have a Roadside Emergency Kit
A roadside emergency kit stored in your car will ensure you have everything you need to begin dealing with a traffic accident. Your kit should include first aid supplies, a disposable camera for taking photos of the damage, pen and paper for taking down information and the phone numbers of emergency services and roadside assistance.
Safely Pull Over
After you are involved in an accident, you should safely pull your car over to the side of the road and out of the way of oncoming traffic. A car left in the road can make an accident worse by getting in the way of traffic and involving more vehicles. If your car is damaged to the point of immobility, everyone should stay in the car and with seatbelts buckled and the hazard lights on until roadside assistance or emergency vehicles arrive.
Once your car is safely moved out of the way of oncoming traffic, if possible, it is time to swap contact and insurance information with the other driver’s involved in the accident. No matter who is at fault, pertinent information like names, phone numbers, license/plate numbers and insurance policy information should be exchanged as soon as everyone is safe.
File the Accident Report
In most states, police officers will only respond to the scene of an accident if there are serious injuries or blatant evidence of negligent driving. Even if the police are not present during the aftermath of your accident, you should take steps to file an official accident report at your local precinct. An accident report will preserve your official perception of what caused the accident and can expedite insurance claim payouts.
Preventing an accident through safe and alert driving habits is always preferable. However, accidents do happen and drivers should be prepared to handle them when they are involved in one.