What To Do If You Get Into An Accident In Athens, GA
Traffic accidents can be scary, horrible experiences. It doesn’t matter if you’re the one at fault or not.
It is common for an emotional flood to come your way. The entire sequence of events can feel chaotic and confusing. Even when you get home for the day, the thoughts of what comes next can cause anxiety.
When you’re in an accident in Athens, GA (or anywhere), it’s important to follow these steps in the seconds and minutes that follow the collision. You’ll have more health and financial protections with these options.
Check Your Passengers and Yourself
One of the first lessons in driving school teaches that you check on everyone in your vehicle after an accident. If anyone experiences back or neck pain, stop that person from moving to prevent additional injuries.
Try to keep yourself and others calm while waiting for the first responders to arrive. The goal is to reduce the risks of additional trauma.
Review Your Surroundings
Driving lessons teach you to check your mirrors and blind spots frequently to avoid accidents whenever possible. If a collision occurs, try to take a deep breath once everything settles. Assess the immediate environment to determine any safety factors that require attention.
Do you smell smoke in the vehicle? Are there gasoline odors?
Safety is the immediate priority after an accident. Everything else becomes a secondary concern until the first one is met.
Move a Minor Accident to the Shoulder
When there is a minor accident without injuries, Drivers Ed classes show you the benefits of moving your vehicle to the shoulder or out of the flow of traffic.
If a severe injury occurs, the car should stay put so that law enforcement can conduct an investigation.
As you move the vehicle, turn on the hazard lights. Place the car in park once you get it to a safe spot, then activate the parking brake.
It would be best if you had triangles and flares in your trunk. Place these appropriately to ensure other drivers can see the accident.
Don’t leave the scene of an accident, even if the other driver does. If you’re threatened by someone or dealing with unsafe conditions, call 911 to explain the situation.
Call the Authorities
Even if an accident seems minor, a police report could still be required by the insurance companies or the court system.
Some drivers might suggest they can settle an accident claim without getting the authorities involved. Always treat that reaction as a red flag. The individual could be under the influence or an uninsured driver. Even if the goal is to avoid an accident report that would cause insurance rates to rise, think about what your future needs are. Discuss the facts of the accident with law enforcement, not opinions, and provide whatever information is requested.
An unbiased report can identify potential factors that could reduce your responsibility levels if you’re the one who is at fault for causing the collision.
Trade Insurance Information
Georgia law requires individuals involved in a collision to exchange information. You should provide your name, address, email, and phone number.
You’ll also want to include the make, model, and license plate numbers of the vehicles involved in the accident. Additional details, including the color, are also helpful.
Insurance information needs to be exchanged, including the company name and policy number.
Try to take photos of this information incase you don’t remember it or write it down incorrectly. It will help during the claims process.
Some info doesn’t need to be shared, such as your claim limits or Social Security number.
If there are witnesses to the accident, try to get their contact information before they leave the scene. You’ll want the report number for the investigation and the business cards or badge numbers of the officers that write the reports.
Keep Track of Your Emotions
Accidents can change your mental state without realization. Most people feel confused. Some become angry, while others are contrite.
The goal is to get you back home safely. Other legal issues can be managed at a later time.
When dealing with an accident’s aftermath, it is crucial not to apologize for what happened. Don’t offer to pay for any damages. Let the insurance companies do the negotiating.
Although some accidents can’t be avoided, many are prevented by knowing the right approach and reactions behind the wheel. Driving school prepares you for these circumstances, and teaches the rules of the road. Reach out today if you’d like to explore the benefits of driving lessons further!