You’ve done it a million times before. You’ve driven your car outside your driveway, down the street, to the highway and off to work, all while in a rush to finish errands and while drinking your morning coffee. You might have even passed a school zone or construction zone faster than what was legal (or acceptable), honked and blared your horn at other drivers, all because you were in a rush and needed to get to work or school on time. Though you’ve done this a million times, it takes only one time for something bad to happen…something like an accident.
How Common Are Accidents?
Car accidents are extremely common due to everyday people going through the scenario outlined above every single day. In addition, distractions such as phone calls, loud music, texting, having headphones on while driving, and everything in between in our daily lives can cause us to not pay attention and get into an at-fault accident. You might think you’re the exception to the rule simply because you’ve never gotten into any kind of accident or predicament. However, a report by Esurance found that 77% of drivers have been in at least one accident. They also found that your chances of getting into a car accident during a 1,000-mile trip are 1 in 366! Those numbers are staggeringly low in the grand scheme of things, and can cost you thousands in repairs, fines, legal suits, and so on. In fact, car accidents cost the United States almost $230.6 billion every year!
What Can I Do?
Now that we’ve established that you might at some point very likely be in an accident, you need to look at ways to prepare and look at some car accident tips. You might already have been in an accident that was your fault. Not to worry, there are some simple car accident tips you can follow in order to reduce your stress levels, avoid a costly legal battle, and also prevent yourself from getting into an accident again. Here are 15 car accident tips that you can follow if you’ve been in an at-fault accident, or simply are looking to avoid being part of the majority that are.
1. Don’t Rush
The best car accident tips you can follow are to avoid being in an accident in the first place. A simple, yet effective way of avoiding being in an at-fault accident are to not rush on your way to school or work. Rushing causes you to switch lanes without looking at your mirrors, colliding with hard to see vehicles and leading to motorcycle accidents. You could also end up getting into an accident with a pedestrian or bicyclists. It’s always best to avoid rushing, never taking shortcuts such as not checking mirrors, and overall having a stress-free life that can prevent accidents and at the end of the day, save lives.
2. Don’t Text and Drive
Similar to rushing, texting and driving can lead to accidents while on the road. It’s especially important to not text and drive while on the freeway. Keep in mind that police officers are trained to spot you on your cell-phone while driving, and cameras can do the same if you are recorded on your phone and then getting into an accident. Even the best accident attorney might prove it difficult to dismiss a case where you are clearly on your phone and texting or calling while driving. Just say no!
3. Install Hands-Free Devices
One of the best car accident tips you can follow is to install hands-free devices. Not only will these help you stay safe and prevent you from getting a ticket, but they can also help you in court if you are at-fault of an accident. Having hands-free devices installed in your car (and actually using them) can help prove that you weren’t distracted or texting and driving, and the accident was due to other circumstances. Some hands-free devices even charge your phones while in use, making it efficient as well as a safe investment.
4. Buy a Dash Cam
Probably one of the most important car accident tips you can follow is simply getting a dash cam. If you were found to be at-fault of an accident and are wrongly accused of doing so, a dash cam makes it extremely easy to win a case. For instance, if someone purposefully reversed into you, and then claimed you rear-ended them, a dash cam will capture the entire scenario and help win your case in court and prevent you from getting a point on your insurance. Getting a dash cam can also help you in cases of hit and run, where a driver hit you, then took off, and is now claiming you hit them! Cases like these two are extremely common, and unfortunately, without a dash cam it becomes a hard legal battle to win.
5. Drive Defensively
It’s important to understand that you must drive defensively in order to prevent an accident, as well as to help you in case you are found at-fault and negligent or careless. Driving defensively means you were doing your best to prevent an accident, especially in today’s stressful driving environment, by constantly checking mirrors, using your signals properly, switching lanes carefully, and overall interpreting “body language” of cars effectively to avoid an accident. You should drive defensively especially if you believe that your car is in need of some new tires or brake repair services.
Mistakes happen, and a first-time accident won’t always mean tons in legal and insurance costs. However, always make sure to drive defensively, and if you do get into an accident, go to an auto body collision repair center right away to get your car back in working order.
6. Don’t Road Rage
Having a bad temper is extremely bad for you if you’re found to be at-fault of an accident. Not only can your violent behavior on the road lead to an accident, but also criminal charges should you lose your temper and physically harm someone else on the road. In addition, videos can be easily recorded of you driving recklessly, solidifying any case against you in court. Ensure you’re not driving while overly stressed, are remaining level-headed, and aren’t harassing anyone on the road. It’s never good to yell at someone, flip the bird at another driver, yell profanities or other insensitive comments to others on the road. Road rage can lead to accidents, criminal records, and can even cost you your life if you run into another road rager!
7. Call Authorities if Necessary
In case you do run into another road-rager on the highway, one of the best car accident tips is to remain in your vehicle until help arrives. If a road-rage incident has lead to an accident, call authorities immediately to protect you and your family if they are with you. If you are a professional truck driver, keep in mind that people who road rage might also have bad intentions and might possibly want to steal your cargo. In these instances, notify your dispatcher to document the situation, call the authorities, and get a truck accident lawyer to help you navigate any legal battles following your accident.
8. Don’t Interact with Other Driver
Even saying things such as “I’m sorry” can incriminate you in an accident, and at worse can put you behind a jail cell if the accident is bad enough. A bail bond agent can help you get out of jail, but this is the worst-case and last-case scenario you want to be in. If you’re at-fault of an accident, or are simply unsure, wait until all investigations are conducted before you admit to the fault by saying things such as “I’m sorry” or “It was my fault.” You never want to give the other driver the upper hand in an accident.
9. Get the Best Legal Help
Being at-fault of an accident can be scary, but just like you shouldn’t interact with the other driver, you should also go ahead and call the best legal help you can find. This is one of the best car accident tips, and can help save you thousands in accident costs! Private accident attorneys can help you go through the murky waters of legal suits, and in the end can help win your settlement money, in addition to not having to pay or be found guilty of legal damages. Get the best legal help you can, and call a lawyer right away once you experience an accident. /p>
10. Ask for Eye-Witnesses
If you’re at fault of an accident, one of the most essential car accident tips is to get eye-witness accounts immediately following an accident. Take notes, get down names, addresses, numbers, and e-mails of eyewitnesses, and let them know you want them to state the truth if necessary. Ensure you get these eye-witnesses to understand you’ll be working with a lawyer, and for them to expect a call for a possible interview. Witnesses might also need to go before a judge should a case proceed in court.
11. Look for other Evidence
Video cameras facing your car, the other driver’s dash cam footage, videos from other drivers, how the accident was staged- all can be the difference between finding you innocent or at-fault of a car accident. Take the time to not just get eye-witness accounts, but also find a private detective to help you gather other evidence to help you win your vehicle accident case.
12. Get Your Car Serviced
Having a car that has not been serviced can make you prone to accidents. If you’re in an accident, you can be found negligent if your car failed to be serviced and thus led to an accident. An auto repair shop is crucial to visit in order to properly maintain your vehicle in good working order. Doing proper maintenance on a car can prevent you from getting into an accident, and also proving you’re a responsible driver to the court system. Utilize auto-repair services, regular cleanings, and make sure your tires are in good working order.
13. Get Medical Help
After an accident, you should get medical help immediately if you feel you are in need of it. Usually, in an emergency, you are taken to the nearest hospital. However, you can also get medical help from the local urgent care, so long as you get access to your medical records and can use this in court after your accident. Getting medical care immediately helps document and leave a paper trail for lawyers to find should you be in an accident. Even if it’s your fault, never neglect to get medical attention- your life is more important!
14. Don’t Drink and Drive
Drinking and driving is a serious offense and one that should not be taken lightly. Of all car accident tips, perhaps the one you can seriously use is to avoid drinking and driving and to let a designated driver, taxi, or Uber or Lyft take you home instead. If you are found guilty of an accident while drunk, get legal help, and get to a bondsman right away to help you get out of jail and set up a case.
15. Question Your Auto Dealer
Sometimes, a used auto dealer can do wonders. This is especially true when it comes to selling you high-quality vehicles such as used trucks, sedans, and cars with cameras. Ask your auto dealer if there is a warranty even for cars totaled in at-fault accidents, and always make sure you purchase GAP insurance from them. GAP insurance gives you the opportunity to completely lose or total one car, but still get another to replace it! This is important to have if you’re a new driver, or just got into an at-fault accident.