According to The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, there are more than six million U.S. motor vehicle crashes per year reported in the United States. Most of us don’t like to think about what if, especially when it comes to vehicle accidents. However, the odds say that you’ll most likely find yourself involved in a vehicle accident at some point in your life. Do you know how to handle a vehicle accident?
There will be an initial shock. Once you’ve realized what has happened and checked yourself for injury, you should attempt to exit your vehicle. You might need to use a window if your door has been damaged. As you find your way out of the vehicle, make sure to pay attention to the oncoming traffic and stay clear of it.
If your vehicle is still drivable, then move it to a public location. From there, you’ll be able to safely exit the vehicle and report the accident. Moving the vehicle is usually a good idea if there’s an immediate danger like being hit again on a busy interstate. Do keep in mind that some states require you to stay on the scene.
You should dial 911 to report the accident. The dispatcher will automatically know your location if you’re calling from a land-line. You’ll need to know your location when using a cellular phone since it’s a more difficult and lengthy process for an emergency dispatcher to determine your location through a cellular phone.
In the event that your vehicle ends up in water, staying calm is a must. You won’t be able to open the door due to the pressure from the water if the vehicle submerges. Calmly take a deep breath and roll down the window to escape. If the electric windows won’t work, then you should break the window by hitting it with an object or kicking it.
As far as insurance goes, most insurance carriers recommend the following universal steps be taken following an accident:
* Take note of how many passengers are in each of the other vehicles involved in the accident, as this will help prevent the future addition of passengers during insurance scams.
* Collect the full name, insurance information, and home address of all other drivers involved in the accident. You should also provide your information to the other driver(s).
* Write a brief summary of the accident, recording as many details as possible – the make, model and year of the vehicles involved; the time of accident; and weather conditions.
* Collect the names and contact information of any witnesses, especially if you feel something or someone other than yourself caused the accident.
* While it’s okay to express concern over what happened at the scene, you should never admit that the accident was your fault or claim liability.
* Have your insurance information, driver’s license, and vehicle registration available for the police. Once the police are on scene, the officer will collect your information. The officer will ask all the drivers what happened and record the account(s).
* Make sure that you ask the officer for the police report so that you can give it to your insurance carrier.
* You should contact your insurance agent or carrier as soon as possible. Most major insurance companies have a 24-hour phone number for claim reports.