Driving is one of the most dangerous things people do on a daily basis. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are over 2 million injuries from car accidents in the US every year. So it’s important to be aware of the possibility and plan accordingly. We’ve got a short list of how to stay safe after an accident to help you prepare.
After a car accident what do you do?
Being in a car crash is very scary and overwhelming. Just remember you’re going to need to do a few things in this situation to stay safe. You’ll always need to exchange information with the other driver. This is required by law no matter who’s at fault. So to be prepared always have your insurance and registration handy, and a pen and paper or camera to gather the other driver’s information. Never flee the scene of a crime, you could be charged with criminal charges!
Remember not to panic. Put on your emergency lights and get your car as safely out of the way as you can. Call 911 immediately and let them know of the situation – including where you are, who’s involved, the description of the cars, and make sure to tell them if anyone needs medical attention.
Remember the important facts a 911 dispatcher is going to need to know:
- Who? The dispatcher is going to want to know who you are incase you get disconnected. Prepare to give your name and phone number for their records.
- What? The dispatcher is going to need to know quickly what happend to send the proper assistance. So if there is medical problems, a fire, or traffic hazard, let them know.
- Where? By letting the dispatcher know exactly where you are, they can send assistance quicker. Try to use City, Road Name, Mile Markers, Direction Signs, or Landmarks to help identify your location clearly and accurately.
Remember that even if you can’t feel any injuries to get checked out by a medical professional as some internal injuries take time to show up.
Is a car safe after an accident?
If you’re able to get out the car safely, do so. It’s dangerous to stay in traffic or in the vehicle. If you’re not able to drive your car home after the accident, remember to call a tow truck.
Your insurance company will help tell you the best course of action for your car. They don’t want you to drive an unsafe car. So talk with them about the damage and definitely get an estimate. They have expert assessors just for these situations. They are very knowledgeable and will help you replace any and all parts needed.
If they provide you an amount to get it fixed, then it’s most likely worth pursuing that route. If they declare it totaled – don’t try to fix it.
Most importantly don’t try to drive the vehicle without proper estimates. Even if you can’t see any damage to the vehicle, it’s best to have an expert look over all the parts to make sure it’s safe to drive. These vehicle inspections can be done at your automotive shop of choice and typically don’t take fairly long – so try to get it in as soon as possible!
After Car Accident Symptoms
The adrenaline of the crash can prevent some people from noticing aches and pains from the accident. It’s important to know that everyone reacts different to an accident, so keep calm and keep checking your symptoms to make sure you’re doing ok. Here are some of the most common systems to look for in after accident injuries:
- Headaches. They can persist days after an accident, and can be a signal of a serious blood clot or neck injury.
- Neck/Shoulder Pain. Whiplashes can be serious and may require x-rays.
- Back Pain. Caused by injury to the muscles or nerves – back pain can be serious.
- Stomach Pain. This could be a sign of internal bleeding, especially with bruises and dizziness. Definitely see a professional if the systems persist.
- Numbness. Loss of feeling in limbs can also be a sign of whiplash and can last for a few days. Check with a doctor if the feeling persists.
Your health is always the most important priority. The important thing to remember is that it’s better safe than sorry. See a professional and get checked out. As time goes on pay attention to any aches and pains you may be feeling.
After the Car Accident Emotions
Some emotional problems can arise too. People can feel guilty or embarrassed after an accident. These are all normal emotions and will settle over time. If you find yourself experiencing unsettling emotions after the accident, try to talk to someone about it. Friends or family care for you and are there to listen. Discuss the accident and how you felt. In more severe cases stress and trauma weeks and months after an accident can result in PSTD. Some of the symptoms of PSTD to look for include:
- avoiding any emotions or reminders of the accident
- constant feelings of anxiousness, crankiness, or anger
- avoiding medical tests or procedures
- constantly reliving the incident
- nightmares or trouble sleeping
If you feel trouble moving on, it’s best to make an appointment with a professional counselor to help you work through the emotions. They can help you adjust back to daily life.
Everyone needs to stay safe after a car accident. It’s a terrible situation that happens to a lot of us and our loved ones. Just remember to be calm, stay safe, and stay smart. Take care of yourself!