Crafting a Safety Plan: How to Deal With Car Accidents

A safety plan is a set of resources that identify protective steps you and your loved ones can take to stay safe. It can be written and stored in a variety of ways, including on a phone or an app.

Immediately following a crash, there are several things you should do to protect yourself. These include:

1. Get Out of Your Car

Thousands of car accidents occur every day, and even minor collisions can be very dangerous. The key to keeping yourself and those in your vehicle safe is acting quickly and taking the right steps. If you have a plan of action that is readily available, it will make it much easier to stay calm and remember the most important things to do.

One of the most important steps is to first check for injuries. If anyone is hurt, you should call 911 and ask for medical assistance. The next step is to move your vehicle to the side of the road, if possible, so that it doesn’t impede traffic. You should also turn on your hazard lights and set up road flares to warn oncoming drivers.

When you are out of your car, take the time to examine both vehicles for damage. You should also look at the surrounding area and any witnesses to the crash. If possible, record this information with a video camera or phone.

You should remove any objects from your vehicle, including loose items, that could be thrown around during a collision. Loose objects can fly in your passengers’ faces and cause lasting injuries. You should also tether or secure any heavy items that you are going to leave in your trunk.

Always keep a safety kit in your car, with emergency supplies like drinking water, non-perishable food and blankets. This kit should also include first aid materials, a phone charger, a flashlight and a pair of reflective emergency triangles. You should also have your car registration, proof of insurance and the contact number of your insurance professional on hand.

2. Call 911

The first thing you should do after a crash is make sure that nobody is injured, especially children in car seats or people who may be unable to move themselves. Even minor fender benders can cause injuries that don’t show up right away, such as internal bleeding and soft-tissue damage.

After confirming that no one is hurt, call 911 to report the incident. A police officer will create a report that is important for insurance purposes and for filing an injury claim. It also helps prevent people from changing their stories later, which can be used against them in an accident case.

If you are able to drive, move your vehicle to a safe location so it isn’t blocking traffic. Turn on your hazard lights and set up flares to warn other drivers.

When the dispatcher calls you, be as clear as possible. Answer all their questions as best you can and don’t hang up until they tell you to do so. If you are not sure where you are, try to give them as many details as you can, such as the street name and house number where your car is, mile markers on the road, and traffic signals or signs nearby.

When you arrive at the scene of the accident, talk to the other driver calmly and exchange insurance information. It’s best to write down this information so that you can remember it, but a photo could also be helpful. Don’t apologize to the other driver or assign blame for the accident; these things can be determined in court. If the cars can’t be moved, have someone walk to a safe spot away from the collision to alert other motorists and keep them clear of your vehicle.

3. Take Pictures

If you are able to do so safely, take pictures with your smartphone of the accident scene while it’s still fresh in your memory. Detailed notes and photos can tell the story of what happened in an accident, which may help determine liability when it comes to settling insurance claims.

Make sure to get close-up shots of the damage done to both cars and other objects like street signs, lamp posts and trash cans. It’s also a good idea to capture the overall crash site from more distant distances, too, so you can see the whole scene and the position of each car relative to one another. If possible, use a ruler or other object to provide a sense of scale in your photos.

Take pictures of each driver’s license plate as well as any witnesses who are at the scene. It’s also a good idea if you can draw a simple diagram of the crash site and how it occurred.

If you are able to, get photos of any injuries you or any passengers suffered in the crash. This is especially important if you’re filing an injury claim because the appearance of some cuts and scrapes can change after you receive medical care. Also get photos of any debris from the crash, including skid marks on the road. Taking these steps can make your case much stronger when it’s time to settle a claim or file a lawsuit.

4. Gather Information

If you’re involved in a car accident, it’s important to gather information about the incident as soon as possible. This will help you avoid legal complications down the road. For example, if you’re sideswiped by another driver and don’t take down the other person’s insurance policy number and name, it can be difficult to prove who is at fault for the collision later on. It’s also a good idea to take pictures of the scene, both from the inside and outside of your vehicle.

Once you’ve taken these steps, it’s time to create a safety plan. The first section of the safety plan identifies warning signs. These include feelings of hopelessness or irritability; thoughts like, “I’ll always be alone”; and behaviors such as arguing with a parent. It’s also important to list any triggers, such as a recent breakup or the death of a loved one.

In this section, you’ll identify coping strategies that will help you deal with these thoughts and situations. Some people find comfort in distraction techniques, such as listening to soothing music or taking a hot shower. Others may rely on the support of friends and family members to help them through a crisis. It’s a good idea to identify both of these, as well as any other coping techniques that work for you.

Once you’ve identified all the potential stakeholders in your community, it’s time to define an organizational structure that supports the development, implementation, and evaluation of the safety plans you’ve developed. This can be as simple as establishing a committee that oversees the process. This may also be an opportunity to develop a shared vision for the safety initiatives you’re working to implement.

5. Contact a Lawyer

If you’re in a safe spot to do so, take pictures of the scene, including damage done to your car and any other vehicles involved. Focus on visible damage to both cars, positioning of the cars in relation to each other and any obstacles like buildings or trash cans, as well as skid marks and debris from the accident. Take pictures from several angles and be sure to include images of any other damages or injuries. If there are witnesses, politely ask for their names and contact information, and ask them to offer a statement about what they saw.

After making sure that everyone involved in the accident is safe, call the police. Even if the accident seems minor, calling the police is important because it creates an official record that can be used later in court if a legal claim is filed. It also gives you a chance to talk with a trained police officer who can help you navigate any conversations with the other driver or their insurance representatives.

Getting into a car accident can be a scary and confusing experience. It is even more stressful when you aren’t sure what to do or how to protect yourself and your rights. It is a good idea to have a lawyer on your side who can explain your options, answer your questions and guide you through the process. Contact a NY car accident attorney today to get more information about what to do after a crash and to learn about your rights. Understanding car accidents law in Cairns is crucial in such situations.