If you get in a car wreck, you might feel awful in the moments right afterward, especially if you made a driving mistake that caused it. In that instant, though, you can’t focus on that. You must go through the appropriate steps and take some lessons from what happened afterward.
We’ll talk about five key things you should do right after a car accident. You should not neglect any of these steps if this happens to you.
Get Off The Road
If you are pondering what to do after a car accident, the first and most crucial thing is to get yourself, your vehicle, and anyone else who was in your car off the road. You must do this whether you’re on a highway or a quiet back street. Either way, you need to get your vehicle out of the way if possible, or else leaving it out there might cause another accident.
The thing is, you can’t very well move your car if you’ve sustained a serious injury. It also could be that you’ve damaged your vehicle to the point that you cannot steer it out of traffic’s way.
If either of these things is true, you’ll have little choice but to leave the vehicle where it is. You want to get it out of the way, but if the accident injured you, and you can’t move, then forget about the car. You should lie quietly and wait for help or try to move yourself off the road if you possibly can.
Call The Police And Medical Personnel
You’ll next need to use your smartphone to call the police and medical personnel. Luckily, nearly everyone carries a cell phone these days. If it so happens that you don’t have one on you, the other driver or one of your passengers can do it.
If no one directly involved has a smartphone, then maybe a passerby can call for help. If you’re in some deserted area and there are no witnesses or other drivers who slow down to help, someone will have to walk to the nearest establishment to try and find a phone.
Phones are so prolific these days, though, that these scenarios are not very likely. In anticipation of a possible accident, you should try to carry your smartphone with you at all times when you go out for a drive.
Don’t Argue With The Other Driver While Waiting For The Authorities
While waiting for the cops and an ambulance to get there, you should probably avoid talking to the other driver very much. If they seem calm and composed, you might start to share information with each other. However, it’s often better to wait in your car until the cops show up.
The police can act as intermediaries once they arrive. They will have probably dealt with many of these situations before, and they can ask each of you questions to see if your answers match up.
The reason why you should avoid talking to the other driver without the police present is that some drivers get very emotional after a car wreck. They might feel like you caused the accident, and their adrenaline is pumping, as is yours. Both of you might start to exchange some heated words, and physical violence may be next.
The optimal thing to do is to stay away from each other and compose yourselves as best you can. If that means going back into your car and staying there with the doors locked and the windows rolled up, so be it.
Once the police get there to keep everyone calm, you can start to exchange information. You will need to get the other driver’s name, insurance information, phone number, and license plate number, at a minimum. They will need to get all of that from you as well.
The police will need all of that information, and they will also ask you to recount what happened if you can remember all of it. In those moments, you might feel an urge not to tell the truth if you feel like you caused the accident.
Lying to the police will never help you, though. You don’t need to speculate about who caused the wreck, but you should also give the authorities a truthful account of what took place. You can relate the bare facts without embellishing or speculating about anything.
It’s helpful to have all of your car-related information on your phone, as well as on a card in your glove compartment. You can read off the relevant portions for the police or hand your phone to them so they can copy it down.
Call A Tow Truck Or Drive Home
The last thing you can do there on the scene is to call for a tow truck if your car requires it. Maybe the crash totaled your car, and if so, you’ll need the tow truck driver to give you a lift, either back home or to the auto body shop.
If the crash injured you, an ambulance can take you to the hospital. Whether you will want to go that way or not depends on how bad the wreck hurt you.
Some people don’t want to ride in an ambulance if they’re not badly hurt because of how much that might cost them. They might elect to drive themselves to the hospital, as long as the car is in decent enough shape and they’re not bleeding profusely or anything along those lines. That’s up to you.
Once you can leave the scene and you’ve handled everything there, you can start to think about what comes next. You might decide that you want to hire a lawyer who can represent you in a possible lawsuit if you plan to sue the other driver. You might also need an attorney if you feel like a lawsuit against you is forthcoming.
Don’t neglect any of these steps at a car accident scene.