It’s not easy to gather your thoughts and stay calm after an accident. Just like when you took self-defence classes back in the days, the instructors would usually be clear about one thing; no matter how prepared you think you are, it’s not likely that you’re even going to remember half of this if something should happen.
The same mindset applies to road accidents. Everything you thought you knew is out the window, and you’ll be lucky to keep calm and manage to remember just a few things.
Here are the three most important steps to take immediately after a road accident, keeping it short, sweet, and easy enough for any panicking mind to recall.
#1 Keep yourself and others safe
Take a moment to calm yourself down first. Breathe and remind yourself that the most important thing to do now is to keep yourself and others out of danger. When it’s impossible to get out of the car, stay put with your seatbelt fastened, turn on the hazard lights, and call the emergency number. It’s easy enough so far, right?
When you are able to exit the car, however, you should proceed with what you were taught when you got your license. Put up those orange cones or warning triangles to alert other drivers and ensure their safety.
If the accident appears to be minor and you can safely walk around, it’s smart to grab your emergency kit in case someone needs help while you’re waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
#2 Be coherent on the phone
If you are unharmed and able to help, you should be the one to call the emergency number. Make sure you do this if someone feels odd or are in pain even if there are no visible injuries on the passenger; keep an eye on your own condition as well and hand over the responsibility to someone else if you feel dizzy.
The dispatcher will need to talk to someone who can explain the conditions of other passengers and remember the information they’ve been given. This includes your own details, as well as what the scene of the accident looks like and where it is. You will need to stay on the phone until they say it’s alright to hang up.
#3 Gather details
By managing the two steps above, you’ve already done a lot for the fellow passengers and drivers who were affected by the accident. When you’ve made the area safe, had a look at the damages to your own vehicle, and called the emergency number, you should start to gather the details of the scene.
Try to make a few notes and take pictures if the accident is minor and no-one is hurt, so that you can describe it accurately when the court and insurance agencies determine the responsibility.
Talk to CLP Legal to help you with the process, for example, hand over the data you gathered to them, and remember to avoid accepting any blame for the accident while you’re on the scene.
By staying calm and collected after an accident, you’re increasing your chances of being helpful and even remembering the details when talking to insurance agencies and lawyers later. Keep in mind that you can’t take pictures or collect these kinds of details when the accident is serious, so leave this job for the police.