How To Prepare For A Car Accident and What To Do If You’re in One

A car accident can be a scary experience that leaves you both mentally and physically shaken. Being prepared for the possibility of an accident and knowing how to proceed if you’re in one can save you stress, time—and even money. Case in point: The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that the economic impact of car crashes in the country totals some $340 billion. Read on to learn how to prepare for and handle a crash.

Make Sure You’re Licensed, Registered, and Insured

Before you get behind the wheel of a car, you should take care of some basic admin. The first step is to make sure you have the right kind of license for the vehicle you’re driving. For example, even if you have a standard driver’s license, you’ll need a different type of license to operate a commercial truck. Most states also require you to register your vehicle. This roundup of registration regulations by state can help you research your local rules. Finally, make sure you have car insurance. This is often a legal requirement. Even if it’s not legally required, it’s helpful. In case you’re in an accident, insurance can help pay for everything from repairing your vehicle to medical expenses. Nationwide has a comprehensive guide to the various types of car insurance, from collision insurance to uninsured motorist insurance (which provides coverage if the other person is uninsured).

Equip Your Car With Emergency Essentials

Make sure to keep some basic car repair supplies and emergency items in your vehicle in case you do get into a crash. Include a safety vest, window punch, seatbelt cutter, distress banner, and whistle. You should also have basic first-aid items, like ace bandages and disinfectant. You can assemble a kit or buy ready-made car accident kits like this one to save time. It’s also helpful to have emergency information on hand. Keep a card handy with your contact and insurance information. You should always exchange these details with the other person involved if you’re in a crash. You may also want to add your local tow truck or AAA number to the card for easy reference. You can create free business cards yourself using a simple template tool — all you have to do is put your information into the required fields and let the software handle the formatting for you. In fact, you can create engaging business cards and have them ready to share in just a few minutes.

Know What To Do If You’re In An Accident

Safety is the first priority if an accident occurs. If you can, get your car to a safe place, like the side of the road. Check yourself and those around you for injuries, and call 9-1-1 immediately. Even if nobody is hurt, you want to have the police take a statement and make a formal report about the incident. Exchange insurance and contact details with others involved, and note the make, model, and color of their car, plus the license plate. You also want to document the accident for legal reasons. Get the names and contact details of any witnesses who saw the incident. If you have your phone on hand, take photos of the crash, including the vehicles and relevant surroundings. For example, if the other driver ran a stop sign, take a picture of the sign.

In some cases, you may want to pursue legal action following a car crash. For example, if you’re hurt and the other driver is to blame, you want to hold them accountable and have them pay for your medical bills. A qualified attorney like Gulotta Gulotta can help. When you visit a lawyer, make sure to bring all documentation from the crash as described above, as this can help your case. A car accident is never a pleasant experience. Ideally, it’s something you’ll never have to go through. That said, it’s good to be prepared—for example, by having a business card on hand with essential insurance and contact details. Finally, don’t hesitate to seek legal assistance after a car crash, especially if you’ve been injured.

For more resources about car accidents and related legal issues, visit the blog.

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