Immediate Steps to Take After an Auto Accident

A car accident is always traumatic for any driver. Even if the damages are relatively minor, and both parties are uninjured, you may find yourself panicking over what to do next. There are important steps to take following any crash, no matter how severe.

Since car accidents involve insurance companies, both drivers need to collect the necessary information. They can do this by following six basic steps. This article will outline these steps and make their priorities clear.

1) The most important thing is to stay calm at all times. Letting the emotions get out of control will only make the situation worse, and make it harder to take care of the things that need to be done.

2) After remaining in control, the driver must make sure that they and their passenger(s) are okay and unharmed. While it is important to move as far off the road as possible, it is also important if not more so to remain at the scene of the accident. If the driver or one of the passengers can do so, wave oncoming traffic into the other lane or warn traffic with hazard lights and flares, if available.

3) Alert the appropriate authorities by calling 911 right away. If a cell phone isn’t readily available, flag down a passing car and ask them to call.

4) The driver must contact their insurance company regardless of whether they were at fault. The sooner the insurance company knows, the sooner they can start working to resolve the claim. Both drivers should call their respective companies and report the accident, even if one of them was at fault.

5) For legal reasons, the driver must not admit fault to anyone. All those involved with the accident should only talk about it with the police and their insurance companies.

6) Finally, collect the information from all parties, which means that each driver must collect information from any witnesses. Most importantly, each driver should get the name of the other’s insurance company and their policy number.

Discourteous Driving Can Be Deadly

Basic decency during driving can seem hard to come by these days. “Road rage” refers to the ability of perfectly sane people to become angry maniacs when behind the wheel of a car. On average, at least fifteen hundred people including men, women and children are killed or injured each year in America due to aggressive driving. Aggressive driving such as tailgating, cutting off other vehicles, and giving the one-finger salute are unfortunately quite common in the United States.

In fact, the problem of discourtesy when driving is responsible for as much as thirty percent of all traffic collisions. Drivers routinely ignore the basic rules of driving, engaging in overtly aggressive behaviors even to the point of murder. One of the most important situations where discourtesy results in injuries or death to other drivers is in right-of-way situations. Whenever two vehicles are driving along a path that puts them at odds with one another, the problem of right-of-way becomes boiled down to who goes first.

Right-of-way is always granted by the other driver, but the problem becomes exacerbated when drivers do not follow the rules concerning right-of-way. Unfortunately, being legally right does not mean being safe. Drivers who cede their right-of-way to the other driver might actually put themselves at risk.

Consider a common situation where, in congested traffic, a driver wants to be let in to the neighboring lane and the driver gives it to them. Before doing so, the driver must check for traffic coming from the rear. If there are two or more lanes going in the same direction, the driver also has to be aware of drivers passing him on the left, since the other driver could pass into that left lane. Other drivers who are not aware of the first driver may not understand that they are yielding their right-of-way.

Drivers must also remember to consider alternate routes. Sometimes avoiding left turns altogether can be the best choice. If a driver has missed a turn and needs to get back to the intersection, performing a U-turn might actually be very dangerous.

When you head it on the road today set an example, so that other drivers can be reassured that there is at least someone who is attempting to drive responsibly.

Parents Shape Teens into Responsible Drivers

Besides graduation day, the day a teenager gets their driver’s license is one of the most important days of their lives. It’s something they’ve looked forward to for years, that feeling of freedom once they hit the open road. Unfortunately, parents don’t always share the same vision. As your child begins to get behind the wheel, there are some things you can do as a parent to help maintain your child’s safety, and your sanity.

Kids learn from the examples they are given, which means that children can pick up on their parents’ bad driving habits. On the other hand, if you come to a complete stop at stop signs and consistently wear your seat belt, there’s a good chance your child will follow suit. Safe and responsible driving is just another thing parents pass down to their children.

Department of Education statistics show that students perform better in school when their parents are involved in their education. This holds true for driver’s education, as well. Parents who understand the process of getting your license and keep updated on what their child is learning in driver’s ed can offer more relevant advice and create opportunities for their child to practice necessary skills.

Teenagers also need a framework for understanding what consequences exist when drivers are not safe and responsible. Parents must help their teen driver understand that getting tickets and into accidents will raise their insurance premium and put their driving privileges into jeopardy. Furthermore, unsafe driving can lead to life-changing injuries to themselves and others. Most insurance providers offer some sort of “good student” discount, which is a good way to tie in school performance with driving.

Sometimes, all the preparation in the world cannot prevent an auto accident from happening. This is why parents must also advise their teen on what to do if they were to get into an accident. Tell your child to immediately call the police and then call home after an accident happens. Also, have your child keep a pen and paper in their glove box alongside other important documents, to take down the names and addresses of those involved and witnesses to the accident. Finally, be sure to remind them that they should never admit fault to the accident with anyone other than the police and their insurance company.

If the threat of rising insurance costs isn’t enough to encourage your teen to drive safely, then maybe some sobering statistics will show them the way. An accident study from the National Safety Council has determined that nearly 50% of the traffic deaths in the U.S. are connected to drinking alcohol, with 16 to 24 year olds making up half of that population. Even more shocking, injuries from traffic accidents is the leading killer of young people aged 6 to 27. On the brighter side, wearing your seatbelt and driving a car equipped with air bags nearly doubles your chances of surviving a serious accident.

Remember that driver’s education doesn’t stop once your child gets their full permit, it’s an ongoing process. The more knowledge you share about defensive driving and the dangers of getting behind the wheel after drinking, the more they will practice responsible driving in their own lives. Believe it or not, your teen will take your words to heart, which can help you worry less after you fork over the keys.