Stop Your Vehicle and Get Out
This series “What To Do In a Car Accident” discusses what a person should do following a crash. After moving to a safe area (as discussed in a previous article), the next step is to stop your vehicle and get out. Obviously, your ability to do so will be determined by your physical and mental state after the crash. If you suffered serious injuries or have become paralyzed, you may not even be able to move after an accident.
You may be confused by this tip. Wouldn’t it be safer to stay in the car and call for help? As a motorist, you have a duty to keep yourself and others safe. When an accident occurs, it’s imperative that you check on the conditions of others involved.
If other vehicles were involved, the occupants may have life-threatening injuries. They may not be able to exit their vehicle. By assisting them, you can prevent further injuries and possibly even save their lives.
Stopping and Exiting Your Vehicle
After an accident, you will likely be experiencing a wide range of emotions. You may be in pain, scared, angry, nervous or simply relieved to still be alive. In the moment, you may not be able to focus.
After a crash, take a breath and focus on stopping your car. Shift it into park and turn off the engine. If you cannot stop the car for some reason, use the emergency brake. Once you have the vehicle parked, turn on the hazard lights to warn other drivers. You don’t want other vehicles to crash into your car and cause further damage. You may wish to use flares or cones if you have them on hand.
Before exiting your vehicle, make sure it is safe to do so. There may be other cars around you or you may be stuck in a ditch. Take a look at your surroundings before opening the car door. People have been injured attempting to exit their vehicle after a crash, so do so with caution so you don’t sustain further injuries or damage to your vehicle.
Surveying the Damage
After exiting safely from your vehicle, you should survey the area. Were other vehicles involved? If so, check on the occupants. Have they suffered any injuries? If so, call 911 and administer medical aid, if possible.
If no other vehicles or people were involved, you may wish to survey the damage and call the police to file a report. If the damage was minor and the car is still operable, you may be able to leave the accident scene once you had made sure that no other vehicles were damaged and no people were injured.
By stopping and exiting your vehicle, you can warn drivers about the accident while rendering aid to victims. Don’t overlook this important step.