Safety tips to use after an auto accident

Auto accidents may happen every day, but that doesn’t make one any less stressful. Even the most prepared drivers may find themselves overwhelmed by adrenaline and find it hard to calm the chaos. But the ultimate goal after an accident is always safety. That means safety for the drivers involved, any passengers, and other cars and trucks on the road. If you have a firm grasp on how to navigate these situations, you can help make a possible disaster a little less dangerous. Here are some tips to use after you get into an auto accident.

Tip 1: Check your surroundings

Before you spring into action, stay in your car and assess the situation first. Check to see if any of your passengers need immediate medical attention or if any vehicle is in danger of falling off a bridge or embankment. Next, turn on your emergency/hazard lights to warn other cars that your car is disabled. 

Use your senses. If you smell smoke or gasoline, it may be a good idea to get out of the vehicle sooner rather than later. Next, check the scene around you. Are you in heavy traffic, or on a dark road that’s not well-lit? This could determine how you approach the next steps.

Tip 2: Call for help

If there is any question that someone may need medical attention, your first call should to  emergency services. It could save someone’s life. Even if injuries seem minor at first, EMTs may be able to catch symptoms of a serious or even life-threatening complication before it is too late. If the accident seems serious or you are in significant traffic, call for police aid. Although police may not respond to less serious accidents, they will always respond if the accident causes injury. They can secure the scene, direct traffic, and question drivers and witnesses to fill out an accident report. This is vital for any future insurance or legal claims. For more information about these claims and more about personal injury law, check out The Zimmerman Law Firm. 

Tip 3: Get out of harm’s way

If it is safe to do so, you can try to move vehicles out of the road, away from the still-moving traffic. But be careful! It is important to remember that getting out of your car can cause another accident if other vehicles are too close or moving too fast. This is especially true when the accident happens on a highway. Even when you feel like you are safe, high speeds and poor visibility can be a deadly combination, as it sadly was for this young woman

Tip 4: Be cautious when approaching other drivers

Although most people are concerned about the wellbeing of others following an accident, road rage is still a thing. If you noticed the other driver acting belligerent before or after the accident, they may be a little volatile. If you feel at all unsafe, keep physical distance and try to keep the mood as calm as possible. An angry driver may show threatening behavior, and if you don’t feel that you can safely handle the situation, get back into your car and wait for police help.

Tip 5: Double-check for injuries

Some injuries are obvious and apparent, but others may take minutes or even hours to manifest. In high-stress situations, our bodies are wired to flood our system with adrenaline. This can help you perform in dangerous situations, but may also temporarily mask serious medical problems. A few of the most common ones are:

  • Brain injuries—watch for headaches, vision issues, balance problems, dizziness, nausea, and sudden mood changes;
  • Back/spinal cord injuries—watch for numbness in the limbs, widespread or localized pain, and lack of mobility;
  • Bone fractures/nerve damage—watch for pain and an inability to move affected area;
  • Muscle strains/tears—watch out for mobility problems, stiffness, and pain; and
  • Internal injuries/organ lacerations/blood clots—watch for bruising, tenderness, and pain without an obvious cause.

If you suffer a serious injury and don’t act quickly, you may be putting your long-term health at risk. Even if you think your injuries are minor, schedule time to see a doctor in the aftermath of any auto accident. 

Tip 6: The best offense is a good defense

One of the best ways to stay safe from auto accidents is to avoid getting into one in the first place. Of course, this isn’t always practical. Things do happen, and sometimes drivers just run into bad luck. But you can avoid many dangerous situations through safe and defensive driving practices. These include:

  1. Keep both hands on the wheel, and both eyes on the road;
  2. Wear your seatbelt at all times (it saves lives!);
  3. Obey traffic laws and signs;
  4. Pull over and stop for emergency vehicles;
  5. Pull into traffic slowly, and double check the road before proceeding;
  6. Keep a close eye on your blind spots and mirrors;
  7. Take extra care at yield signs or unprotected turns; and
  8. Stay a safe distance away from other vehicles at all times.

These are just a few of many safe driving habits that can save you from an accident. The best auto accident is the one that never happened.

Conclusion

Auto accidents are scary and stressful. But if you keep these safety tips in mind, you can help prevent further injuries and navigate a bad situation for the benefit of everyone involved. And when the dust settles, you can start the physical and financial recovery process.

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