Best Safety Tips to Follow During a Car Crash
As car accident attorneys, we have been navigating the world of vehicle collisions for more than 50 years, and helping fight for the rights of those who experience them. On average, there are 16,438 car crashes every day in the U.S. Your safest bets are to always follow the rules of the road and drive with caution, but with the number of wrecks that happen every day, they can start to feel unavoidable.
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For this reason, it helps to be prepared, and we want to walk you through some of the top safety tips to follow if you do find yourself in a crash:
- Always wear a seatbelt
Seatbelts keep you safe by ensuring that you stay inside the vehicle during a car crash. They save you from colliding with the dashboard, steering wheel, windshield, and other components of the car. They are helpful tools that disperse the force your body absorbs from the accident and applies the force to areas where your body is most durable. Of the 22,215 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2019, 47% were not wearing seat belts, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This means seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives and could have saved an additional 2,549 lives if they had been wearing their seat belts. There is no need for this suffering to happen. Although seatbelts do occasionally fail, you will be much better with one than without.
- Utilize your anti-lock brake system
An anti-lock brake system, or ABS, works by releasing and then reapplying or pumping the brakes to a motorcycle wheel or car wheels in heavy braking situations. Sensors on each wheel are used to detect locking, which is when a wheel stops moving and starts to skid. When a lock-up is detected, ABS pumps the brakes 100s of times per second. If your vehicle is equipped with this system, it is essential to utilize it if you find yourself in a crash or avoiding one. If you need to brake quickly, hold your brakes firmly and allow the ABS to pump the breaks for you. You might feel the pedal vibrate, which is a good indication that it is working. Another helpful tip is to point your wheels straight forward, which will allow the system to work most effectively.
- Remain in control of your vehicle
It can be easy to panic during a car crash, and these feelings are totally understandable, but remaining in control of your vehicle will keep you as safe as possible. If you start to lose control of your vehicle, remember to hold the steering wheel steady. This means keeping your hands on the steering wheel to prepare for the moment when you can steer your car back on the right path. In some cases, shifting the car into neutral will also prove to be helpful. If you need to keep going in order to prevent the car behind you from hitting you, remaining in control of your vehicle will help you do that.
- Aim for the object that will make the least impact
If it is inevitable for you to have a collision, you should try to collide with an object that will be the least impactful for your vehicle and most importantly, for the health and safety of yourself and those in your vehicle. Of course, this will depend on your surroundings and the specifics of your crash, but if possible, aim for a lighter collision like bushes rather than oncoming traffic. Sometimes, big trees can be more dangerous than other objects, so use your best judgment when keeping this in mind. As a general rule, try to avoid head-on collisions with other vehicles or running into secure objects like concrete barriers.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Hopefully, following the steps above will keep you as safe as possible if you find yourself in a car accident. During this process, your health and safety and that of your passengers is the most important. After a car accident, you should be calling 911 or having another person do so. At this time, you can let them know what has happened and inform them of any injuries. You might be injured without even realizing it, so proceed with caution when you begin to move after your collision.
On the legal end, you will want to make sure you have all your bases covered and that the accident is fully documented. This will help us defend your case if we should need to down the line. The first step will be to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. The information you should be exchanging during an accident includes the full name and contact information, insurance company and policy number, driver’s license and license plate number, the type, color, and model of the vehicle, and the location of the accident. It is best to avoid fault or going over the events with the other driver and to leave that up to the legal experts.
In terms of documentation, it is important identify the officers involved in the crash and ask them where you can get a copy of the accident report. Your insurance company might ask for this when you go to file a claim. The next most important step is to take pictures of the vehicle from different angles and demonstrate the damage done to both vehicles. This would also be a good time to take a picture of the other car’s license plate, write down the names and contact information of those involved, as well as the names and contact information of any witnesses who can help you make your case later.
Although you never want to find yourself in a car accident, it is best to be prepared every step of the way. To learn more about how a car crash attorney can help you navigate the aftermath of this situation, call Davis, Murrelle & Lyles, P.A. at (252) 512-5909 or contact us online.