It isn’t always easy to think clearly right after a car accident. One of the most important things Texas drivers can do is stay calm and, when possible, take the following steps.
Ensure your safety
The first step immediately after any car accident is to assess for safety. The driver should ask if everyone in the vehicle is okay. If anyone in the vehicle has an injury, including the driver, then the next step is to put the hazard lights on and immediately call 911. If an injury has impaired the driver and it’s not safe to drive, then stay put. If the car isn’t safe to drive, then stay put.
If the driver, passengers and the vehicle are safe to move then the next step is to get the vehicle off the roadway and call 911 once the vehicle is in a safe place.
Once the driver calls 911 the operator will help decide whether to send an ambulance and the police. If the operator doesn’t alert the police the driver may want to do this themselves. The police will assist in filing a police report. In the future, the driver will want a copy of the police report as one of the documents to include in any insurance claims.
If the accident is minor, the police may not come to the scene. In that case, the driver may want to go to the police station or the local police website to file a police report about the accident.
Document the accident
Drivers should exchange insurance information with each other after car accidents. They should also record relevant information by writing things down or taking photos with their phones. This information should include license plates, makes and models of the cars involved, photos of the vehicles immediately after the accident, vehicle registration and insurance information. Information like the weather, which direction the vehicles were traveling at the time of the accident and the time of day can be helpful in the future.
Drivers are not advised to discuss the cause of the accident or details of their insurance plan. Insurance studies have found that this information can complicate future claims or court cases.
If anything else seems relevant at the time it doesn’t hurt to record that information. Drivers who gather as much information as possible at the time of the car accident will be better able to explain the accident later if they need to.