If you’re not sure what to do if you’re involved in a road accident, then you’re not alone. Many people find themselves in a similar situation. However, it’s far better to familiarise yourself with the process before an incident. Otherwise, you may overlook crucial aspects simply because you’re shaken up by or left feeling dazed and confused.
Let’s look at six steps that you need to take to ensure you take care of your health and wellness, as well as your assets, after a road accident.
What To Do If You’re Involved In A Road Accident: Step #1 Remain calm
Whether or not you have sustained injuries in the traffic accident, it is vital to remain calm. Getting angry with those involved or yourself will only make the situation harder to resolve. Controlling your emotions will enable you to make rational decisions and to effectively communicate with anyone else involved in the incident.
If, however, you find yourself panicked, scared or irritated, then take relaxing breaths. You can do this by firstly clearing your mind and then inhaling through your nose to the count of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Hold your breath to the count of 1, 2, 3, 4. Next, exhale slow out your mouth to the count of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
By controlling your breathing and using a relaxation technique, you slow down your heart rate and reduce your blood pressure. This technique is fantastic if you’re involved in a road accident as it helps you reduce anxiety and gives you a moment or two to gather your thoughts, to deal with the situation better.
Step #2 Warn and assess
Once you’ve controlled your emotions, put on your vehicle hazard lights. This approach lets other road users know that your vehicle is stationary and represents an obstacle that needs avoiding.
If you feel okay, then it’s time for you to get out of your car and assess the damage. Look over your vehicle and any others involved in the incident.
Ask how other people are feeling if there are others involved in the incident. Ensure everyone is safe and that all vehicles are secure and not a hazard to other road users.
Step #3 Seek out help
If you or anyone else is injured or the vehicles have sustained a lot of damage, call for help. An ambulance, police assistance or even the fire brigade may be required. Then wait for these services to turn up at the scene.
Medical assistance should always be a priority. If anyone involved feels unwell or looks injured, then carry out basic first aid until professional help arrives.
Do not move a person who is seriously injured or trapped in a car. Instead, wait for emergency services. Getting help sooner rather than later will ensure that you or anyone else does not harm themselves further or that you create any additional health implications.
Step #4 Exchange details
If the accident has involved someone else, then it is important to get their details. The information that you need to get includes the:
- Make, model, colour and registration of the other vehicle.
- Name, age, address and license number of the driver.
- Insurance for the car and driver.
This exchange of information will ensure that you and other people involved in the incident can keep in touch. It also helps to get crash repairs and insurance claims processed quicker.
What To Do If You’re Involved In A Road Accident: Step #5 Take photos
If you are not injured then take as many photos of the scene as possible. This initiative will help with any claims you make and will also provide evidence when you make any statements to the police.
When you take photos, make sure that you do not move or touch anything at the scene. A crash investigation may be required and tampering with the accident area may alter data collection and affect evidence. This situation could then delay claims or put any statements you’ve made under scrutiny.
If possible, also take video footage of the scene to add with your photo evidence. Videos can show greater detail than still shots. Plus, these can capture an incident as it unfolds.
Step #6 Seek legal help
When you’re in an accident that has damaged your property or caused you injury, you need to seek out legal advice. Contacting a legal representative will let you know what you’re entitled to so you can claim the compensation that you deserve.
A well-respected personal injury law firm will assist you in understanding your entitlements. They will also discuss your incident and the types of compensation that you can claim. Plus, they’ll let you know about the process and what you can expect once you’ve put in a claim after the car accident.
Step #7 Be honest
Telling the truth when you are in an accident will help your cause. If you are at fault, own up to what happened, so you don’t incur extra charges or penalties. Lying could result in a much worse outcome.
For instance, if you have consumed alcohol or an illegal substance and you’re over the legal limit, then own up to it. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol breaches laws in many states and jurisdictions. Of course, the limits vary from region to region.
Alcohol and other substances can adversely impact your life. The use of substances may impair judgement on the road, and in some incidences, can even cause a car accident. However, avoiding alcohol and other substances when driving will ensure that you optimize your safety on the road.
Using these tips, you can maintain physical and mental safety after being involved in a road accident. Also, you can seek the right advice and assistance when needed. And you can be on the road to recovery sooner rather than later.
What To Do If You’re Involved In A Road Accident: Key Takeaways
- Remain calm and practice deep breathing if you feel anxious;
- If your vehicle is damaged, then exchange details with the other driver;
- Take photos of the incident in case you need these as evidence later down the track;
- Even if you don’t feel unwell, still seek medical assistance to ensure that you have not sustained an injury;
- Seek legal advice so that you know what you are entitled to in terms of compensation; and
- Be honest with yourself and others about the situation and what occurred.
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