an-accidentSo you’ve just gotten into your first car accident–now what? Since even the most experienced drivers can panic in these stressful situations, it’s good to know what things to do after a car accident ahead of time so you’re prepared.

Most drivers are unaware of what things to do after a car accident. If not assessed correctly, there can be a lot of negative consequences.

Because car accidents are unpredictable and frightening, we’ve compiled a list of 5 things to do after a car accident so you can familiarize yourself now when things are calm. You may even want to print this out and put it in your car’s glove box for reference.

Check for Injuries

The first thing to do after a car accident is to quickly check for injuries. Check yourself first, then any passengers in your vehicle. Quickly assess what injuries may need immediate first aid like bleeding, breathing problems, or broken bones. Next, check others involved in the auto accident similarly. Evaluate your situation and pay attention to any other immediate dangers like fire, leaking gasoline, oncoming traffic, etc

Call 911 or the Police

The next step is to either call 911 emergencies if there are injuries or the police if not. It’s a good idea to call 911 anyway in case someone is injured and it’s just not apparent yet. Use your judgment depending on the severity of the accident. Minor fender bender auto accidents usually won’t require medical attention, but every accident is different. Again, calling 911 is the safest. If you’re busy doing first aid, have someone else call immediately. Obtain badge numbers and names of the police officers and other rescue workers for reference later in case you have to go to court.

Get to Safety

Depending on where the accident occurred, you’ll want to get everyone to a safe spot to avoid further injury. Sometimes the safest place is to remain in your vehicle. Don’t risk lives crossing lanes of a freeway on foot just to get to the side. If your car still works, pull over to the nearest side of the road. Always remain at the accident scene and await the police or ambulance.

Exchange Insurance Information

In a car vs car accident, you’ll want to exchange insurance information with the other driver. Be careful what you say as anything can be used against you in court. Tensions are high and now isn’t the time to determine fault. Get basic name, address, phone number, and insurance info from the other driver and provide the same for them. Make sure you call your auto insurance company as soon as possible to get vital instructions from them. If there are witnesses that were present during the accident, it’s also a good idea to get contact info and statements from them. They may prove a valuable reference if the other party decides to make statements contrary to what really happened.

Take Pictures of the Auto Accident

Finally, you’ll want to document as much of the car accident as possible by taking your own pictures. Adjusters and investigators all have their own initiatives and agendas. To protect yourself and your interests, it’s a good idea to take as many pictures of the accident as you can in case of a discrepancy later on.

No two auto accidents are alike. For example, if you’re hauled away in an ambulance, you can’t really take pictures. However, this list of 5 things to do after a car accident will provide you with basic steps to cover most situations.

One final trick that we teach our customers is to pretend that you were just involved in an auto accident and it’s your fault. What kind of insurance coverage do you WISH that you would have purchased? It’s a good idea to review your auto insurance policy with your independent insurance agent now before any accidents happen. Your insurance agent can inform you of any details you need to follow plus provide options for certain situations. Your policy may cover towing or roadside assistance to help you out further.

Good luck and safe driving!