One of the first things new drivers have to learn is how to drive responsibly. Your main goal on the road should be to avoid all dangers and protect yourself and other traffic participants. Sometimes, the thing we fear the most is inevitable. Car accidents are a lot to handle, but you have to act accordingly and try not to allow fear to overwhelm you.
The first thing you need to do after a collision is to stop the vehicle. Even after a minor accident, you should never drive away from the scene. Instead, stop the car and ensure all passengers are safe. If your seatbelts are stuck, find a sharp object to cut them and stay as far as you can from the vehicle. In severe accidents, your car may catch on fire, which is why it's advisable to take a few steps back and ensure nobody else gets close to your vehicle.
If you feel alright and capable of moving comfortably, you should check whether other participants in the accident need help to get away from the scene. If somebody is in a critical condition, you should get them out of the vehicle. Try not to move them a lot, because sudden and quick movements may worsen the damage.
No matter how minor the accident seems to you or the other party, you must call the police. Notifying the authorities is your duty, and once the police arrive at the scene, explain what happened. In case you need to call your insurance company after the accident, you'll have to provide legal paperwork that corroborates the evidence of how the accident happened.
Once you call the police, you should exchange basic information with all the parties involved. Write down their manes and registration details, and give the same information in return. However, you are not obliged to share personal information, such as your phone number and street address. Only provide personal information to authority figures.
After calling the police, you should also call 911 to report the accident. Medical professionals will take care of people with severe internal injuries, but minor injuries require a check-up as well. If any part of your body hurts, you should at least see a healthcare professional afterwards.
Take out your mobile phone or camera and take pictures of the accident. Document everything, and provide photos from different angles. Take pictures of all visible damage. That way, once you contact your insurance company, you'll be able to provide more evidence of the accident. Photograph your injuries as well if you have any.
Alert other drivers that the area around the accident is not safe. Turn on your hazard lights and set up a sign that indicates that something has happened on the road. If anyone tries to step in and disrupt the scene, you should give them signals to avoid this area.
Call your insurance company to inform them about the accident. They will take you through the application procedure and help you file a report. You'll have to provide basic details about the accident before you send them the final report.
In most cases, you'll have to take your vehicle to a mechanic after the accident. If dents are the only visible damage, you should request for high quality panel beating. A good mechanic will make sure your vehicle looks brand new after they fix the damage.
Dealing with other nervous participants can be daunting. It's vital not to participate in the argument with other parties. Instead, call your lawyer and explain what happened. They will give you advice on how to act in this situation and ensure you don't do anything reckless.
Although it's normal to be upset after the accident, it's important to stay as calm as you can. Don't yell at other participants, and ensure you take all the steps to protect yourself and the people around you.
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