Approximately 6 million car crashes occur annually across America, culminating in almost 3 million injured victims per year and almost 100 fatalities per day. Most of these accidents are avoidable with some forethought and proper planning, and there are tons of tips for driving safely. You can’t control what other drivers do and those tips mean little to nothing once an accident actually occurs. Of course, no one ever wants to witness or be informed a loved one has been involved in a fatal car accident. But wintertime driving conditions set the stage for more accidents to occur. Once fear and adrenaline set in, simple mistakes can lead to extra dangers for everyone involved. Fortunately, there are some basic steps to take to help ensure you’re safe and can get back on the road quickly after a winter car accident.
Stay Calm and Assess
Tempers and emotions flare during accidents and dangerous driving conditions, and many motorists want to rush out and confront the responsible party as soon as the event occurs. But it’s usually a much safer and almost always a much smarter decision to stay put and think things out. Focus on your breathing, turn on your hazard lights, assess injury statuses for yourself and any passengers, and call for emergency or roadside assistance if necessary. If you’re able to do so at this time, take any interior pictures of damages and images relative to the accident that you can see externally from your current viewpoint.
Move the Car Off the Road or Stay Inside
If the people inside the vehicle aren’t in need of immediate medical care and the vehicle is operable, attempt to move it off of the road and out of the way of oncoming traffic. Direct other cars involved in the accident to do the same if possible. If that’s not possible, turn on your flashers, buckle up your seatbelt, and stay inside the vehicle until help arrives.
Increase Visibility and Stay Warm
Once you know everyone’s OK and the car is moved, make sure you’re visible to other motorists. Make sure your tailpipe is free of debris or snow and put out flares or other bright markers. Turn on your lights and make sure everyone in the car is warm and bundled up. Use your emergency kit to offer snacks, water, and charge phones if necessary. But stay put so you don’t get lost or end up with a potentially serious penalty for leaving the scene of the accident.
Exchange Information and Get Details
After an accident, it’s essential to get as many details as possible. So, if you’re physically able to do so and doing so won’t cause extra health hazards, attempt to exchange insurance info with the other driver and get details on their end of what happened with the accident. Don’t get into an altercation or argument over it and remove yourself from their presence if that begins. Take pictures of both vehicles, especially around impact, and of their license plate in case they decide to bolt. And if any passersby are around, ask them for details of what they witnessed regarding the accident. That may significantly help your case in the event you need to contact a Michigan car accident attorney.