Stress and panic make it hard to make rational decisions. Planning ahead of time will make it easier for you to deal with emergency situations. That’s why schools and businesses practice fire escape routes with fire drills every year for safety purposes.
That’s also why you should have a plan in place in case you get into a car crash. There are many things you will need to take care of immediately after a collision, but these four first steps are often the most important.
Check everyone in the vehicle for injuries
The first thing you want to do after a collision is to determine whether anyone has injuries and how severe they might be. Check first for signs of visible injury, and then inquire about what people experienced during the crash. If they got jerked around by their seat belt, lost consciousness or struck their head, they may require additional medical examination to rule out possibly serious injuries.
Call for emergency services, and exit your vehicle
Once you know if you need emergency medical services for the people in your vehicle, you should call for first responders. Police officers, firefighters and paramedics can all play an important role in the aftermath of a crash. If you are physically able to do so, you will likely need to exit your vehicle to check your surroundings for safety.
Document the scene of the crash
You may want to check on the other driver to see if they have severe injuries. At that point, you might exchange licenses and insurance information. Taking photos of the other driver’s information with your mobile phone will be the fastest way to make a copy of it.
You will also want to document the scene of the crash. Take as many pictures as possible, and consider taking some videos as well. Shots for multiple angles and from both poles and far away will make it easier for you to prove you weren’t at fault for the crash.
Move the vehicles if necessary to allow traffic through
If there aren’t multiple lanes of traffic, you may have no choice but to move the vehicles before police officers arrive. Take pictures and video before you attempt to move the vehicles to allow traffic to pass. In some cases, you may not be able to safely move the vehicles because of damage to them.
Bystanders may stop to help you, and professionals will be on their way soon enough. Once you make a police report, you can then decide if you need to leave to seek medical care.
Make sure that you give the officers who arrived as much information as possible about what led to the crash so that they can accurately assign fault for the wreck. Proper information about fault will be key to insurance and other compensation for your losses after the collision.