Getting into a car accident is never a fun experience. However, the worst one is often your first. This is because you don’t quite know how to handle the situation, and it often happens when you are very young. To help make your first car accident a little more manageable, here are 5 tips you can use, whether you’re currently sitting in your car trying to figure out what to do or you just want to plan ahead.
Make Health and Safety a Priority
The first thing you’ll want to do is make your health and safety a top priority. According to SteinLaw, a Tampa car accident lawyer, “The first priority after a car accident is to ensure that all parties are safe and minimize injuries. There are many different injuries that can occur during a car accident – some are trivial, and some are serious. If you are injured, you need to seek medical attention, even if the injury appears minor.” Call an ambulance if you need medical assistance right away so that it can get there sooner rather than later.
In addition, directly after the accident, you should get yourself to a safe place. If you can, pull the car over to the side of the road so that you don’t have to worry about traffic. If there is any smoke coming from your car, you should immediately exit the vehicle and move a safe distance away. There are some things you’ll have to do to take care of the aftermath, so you’ll want to be in a safe location to do this.
Get Information from Other Drivers
One thing you’ll need to do after the accident is exchange information with any other drivers involved. The other driver will want your name, insurance information, and license plate number, and you should receive the same from them. Jot these things down on a piece of paper or store the information in your phone. You’ll need this information when filing an insurance claim, so be sure to write it all down correctly.
It’s also a good idea to snap some pictures of the accident. Take out the camera on your phone and take pictures of your car and anything else that was involved with the accident. If you received some injuries, it’s not a bad idea to take pictures of these either. Finally, if something caused the accident, like an obstructed view of a stop sign, you should photograph that as well.
Keep in mind that after an accident tempers may be hot. Do your best to remain calm and to interact with the other driver in a peaceful manner. Yelling or arguing will only make the situation worse. Let them yell if they need to – just get the information you need and be on your way.
Call for Assistance
After a car accident, you may need some assistance. If you or anyone else is injured, the first call should be to 9-1-1. If there weren’t any injuries, you’ll still want to contact the police so that they can file an accident report.
Besides emergency services, you may also need some help with your car. It’s a good idea to have the number of a tow service stored in your phone or the number for a roadside assistance program you are a member of. Make these calls as early as you can in the process to reduce the amount of wait time.
Finally, as this is your first accident, don’t be afraid to call your parents or another family member. It’s stressful going through this for the first time and having someone there with experience can help to ensure everything gets done right.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Finally, after the accident, you should take some time to think about why it occurred. Were you distracted? Were you driving too fast? Is there anything you could have done differently to avoid the accident? Learning from your mistakes is the best way to prevent a future accident. And if the accident wasn’t your fault, learning from the mistakes of others can keep you from making them yourself. Reliving the accident may not be enjoyable, but it can keep you safe down the road.
Handle Things One at a Time
After an accident, it can seem like there are a million things you need to do. Take a deep breath and handle things one at a time. Start by making any phone calls that you need to, then move on to the other steps. Hopefully, these tips will help to remove some stress from your first accident and that you’ll be able to get through it without too much trouble.