Getting in a road traffic accident (RTA) can be one of the most terrifying experiences a driver may encounter. It’s easy to get upset and frustrated, especially during rush hour when every moment spent on the road counts. If you ever find yourself in a situation like this, try to remain calm.
If you’re involved in a car accident, one of the worst things you can do is panic. Panic makes it hard to think clearly and can cause you to make mistakes. Here are some ideas for how to stay calm after a traffic accident:
1. Check yourself for injuries
If there are others with you in the car, check on their condition first. Call 911 if necessary to get medical help for them before moving on to any other tasks on this list. Even minor injuries can turn out to be serious later on, so be sure to consult a doctor soon after the accident happened, even if you do not feel the injury at first, as it can appear later. Internal injuries are always a threat that should be eliminated by consulting a doctor post accident. Injuries like whiplash and head trauma often don’t show up until days after an accident. No matter how minor a car crash may seem at first, everyone involved should be checked by a doctor.
2. Call your insurance company
Call your insurance company right away and let them know what happened. Be sure to give them your insurance information if they ask you for it, and if they ask you how much coverage you have on your policy, tell them you don’t know because your auto insurance agent is handling that. It doesn’t hurt to be over-cooperative with the insurance company, and many times this will smooth things over with the police later on. If you were a pedestrian, you should take pedestrian accident lawyer advice as soon as possible after the accident. Pedestrians who are injured in a traffic accident have legal rights and may be entitled to compensation. This compensation can come from the driver’s insurance company, or from your own insurance company if you have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage or a medical payments (MedPay) option. A pedestrian lawyer can help you recover compensation from the driver’s insurance company.
3. Call the police and report the accident
Even if you don’t think the police are needed, it’s always a good idea to call. It’s hard to tell whether or not there is property damage at the time of an accident, as emotions are high. Calling will also help you stay calm after an accident.
4. Talk to witnesses and collect information
One of the biggest mistakes you can make after a car accident is to flee or try to hide. If you are at fault, this may exacerbate your guilt and fear. Even if you are not at fault, the other driver may be at fault and might try to flee the scene. It’s important to stay calm and talk things through with other people involved in the accident. If there are any witnesses, talk to them and ask for their contact information so they can give testimony later on. Find out if anyone has been injured in the accident, even if they don’t seem injured at first glance. If you were not at fault in the accident, it is a good idea to collect insurance information from everyone involved, including witnesses.
Snap photos and videos
If safe to do so, take pictures of the accident scene with your phone and make sure to capture both vehicles and any property damage. If possible, try to get photos from different angles so you have options when it comes time to present them. You should also take pictures of any visible injuries you have. This may seem strange or uncomfortable at first, but these types of photos can help establish what happened and how serious your injuries were in the days following an accident.
5. Talk to someone nearby
Sometimes all we need is another human being to talk to in order to calm down after a stressful event. If someone saw the accident, have them stay with you and provide support while you wait for police and paramedics to arrive at the scene.
If no one saw the accident, ask someone nearby who can help you call 911 and get help on the way. Don’t try to leave the scene unless paramedics tell you it’s safe to do so.
At the end of the day, being able to calm yourself down after a traffic accident is what will enable you to deal with things effectively. By learning these different techniques and putting them into practice in real-life scenarios, you can master this skill and reduce your chances of being injured in an accident or worse yet, getting in another one. One thing is for sure–whether you’re the one who caused the accident or not–experiencing one is always an unpleasant experience. The best you can do is try to remain calm and learn how to stay safe from more serious injuries.