Every time you leave the house for a gallon of milk at the store, or just going off to work, the risk is ever present that you could be involved in a car accident. It’s simply the law of averages. You can be the safest of drivers, just puttering along and minding the traffic laws, when suddenly out of nowhere you get hit. You weren’t expecting it for sure. A car accident can be shocking and scary. However, remaining level headed is a must! The following is a helpful step by step process you should take if you get into a car wreck.
# 1 If your vehicle did not stop after the collision, make sure you stop, place the car in park and STAY CALM!!
Most of us realize that crying, screaming, yelling, and even leaving the scene of a car accident are all “accident dont’s.” Especially, the last one, which is AGAINST THE LAW! So, why is it that our first instincts after a crash are to do all (or some) of the above?
One word can sum up most drivers’ accident related responses: Fear. Fear can cause our natural “fight or flight” instinct to kick in, leading us to function in a panicked state instead of a level-headed manner. If you’re in a safe place with no risk of further damage or injury, take a minute to gather your thoughts and calm yourself before reacting.
# 2 Turn on your hazard lights and if possible, move your car to the side of the road
After you’ve collected yourself, turn on your hazard lights and move your vehicle out of the way of traffic, if possible. If the situation is a life-threatening one (fire, dangerous intersection) and you must remove yourself from the vehicle, do that. Just be careful not to put yourself or passengers in more danger by exiting the vehicle and moving to a place that is even less safe.
# 3 Call the Police/911
Don’t assume that the other party or those who witnessed the accident have notified the proper authorities. Take action yourself and contact the police through their direct number or 911. Once the police arrive, they will give you directions. Follow these to a “T” and try to remain as calm as possible when dealing with law enforcement. Because they are trained and experienced in working with car accidents, law enforcement officers can be your best allies in helping you through the situation.
# 4 Take Notes, Pictures, and Gather Important Info
While the police will most likely conduct a thorough investigation and gather facts, do not let their gathering of information replace your own. You should take notes, snap pictures, and get any needed info during this time. This way, your insurance claim can run as smoothly and seamlessly as possible and you will have all requested information on hand.
# 5 Don’t Discuss Fault with Other Parties
Part of step four will require speaking with possible witnesses and the other driver/passengers involved in the car accident. Although you should remain polite, never discuss or admit fault while speaking with the other parties. Even if you feel you are responsible for the accident, that part of the conversation is best had with your insurance agent.
# 6 Notify Your Agent ASAP!
Notify your insurance of the accident right away. Waiting and procrastinating can stop you from receiving repair funds. So, submit all required information as quickly as possible. Don’t let worry and fear stop you from completing required paperwork or making necessary phone calls. Take initiative and responsibility so that you can move forward from the incident as quickly as possible.
# 7 Arrange for Repairs
Even If your accident is just a slight fender bender, you should have your vehicle looked at by an auto body professional! The most cosmetic “bruises” could have a more serious consequence lying underneath!
Home of the “Pete Solis Collision Satisfaction Guarantee”, at Pete Solis Collision Center, we are El Paso’s Auto Body Shop! With over 47 years of experience behind us, we are the top choice for bodywork, paint, and more. We are the home to ICAR certified professional body shop technicians, as well as quality Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes. Pete Solis Collision Center is located at 1434 Lomaland Dr. in El Paso, Texas. Give us a call today at (915) 599-8666. We are open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm.