Imagine you are going on vacation, driving from your home in Jefferson City to the west coast. Even before you reach Apache Flats, another driver suddenly pulls in front of you. You swerve, but cannot avoid making contact with the other car’s rear bumper. Do you know what to do once you come to a full stop? After a car accident, even a minor one where no one suffers serious injuries, it is not uncommon for people to panic or feel overwhelmed. Having a checklist in your car for times like these will help you stay calm and confident. Mid Rivers Insurance wants all of our customers to recover as quickly as possible from an accident, continue reading to learn ways you can reduce stress by preparing for these unexpected events.
Before You Hit the Road
No one wants to plan on having an accident; however, preparing for an accident is wise. In the scenario above, the accident happened in Missouri, where state laws allow you to move a crash vehicle out of the roadway before law enforcement personnel arrive if there are no serious injuries. Other states may have different laws and recommendations.
When traveling out of state, verify state laws about motor vehicle crash reporting and law enforcement assistance and make sure you are well prepared should you be involved in an accident by:
- Stocking your vehicle with approved flares, reflectors, and other protective gear you may need if an accident occurs during inclement weather after sunset or before sunrise.
- Storing a notepad and pencil plus a disposable camera (or camera equipped cell phone) in your car to document contact information and the accident scene.
- Tossing in a blanket and pillow in your car that you can use to prevent shock or make injured people comfortable while waiting for EMS personnel to arrive.
Your Accident Checklist
Whether you have an accident in Missouri or another state, remain on the scene and dial 9-1-1 as soon as you can then:
- Make sure everyone is OK and safe.
- Contact your Mid Rivers agent as soon as practical for support and guidance.
- Document the entire accident scene with a written description and as many photos as necessary to give law enforcement and your Mid Rivers insurance agent all the information they need to establish what happened and why.
- Intersection details, including traffic lights and stop signs, lane markings on the pavement or other directional devices
- Road conditions
- Vehicle damage
- Witness statements
- Weather conditions
- Signage or other infrastructure that may have blocked visibility
- Unusual statements or body language of other parties involved. For example, if you smell alcohol or notice the driver or occupants of the other vehicle use slurred or sluggish speech patterns
- Move vehicle, if appropriate
- Set out flares and reflectors
- And, anything else that may have contributed to the accident
- Exchange telephone numbers, addresses, driver license numbers, full names, insurance information, and facts about the incident with witnesses and other people involved in the collision.
- Remain calm and do not discuss the accident with anyone other than to answer police questions and help authorities gather the facts.
- Be courteous and polite, but never admit fault.
Research shows that the majority of all traffic accidents happen between one and five miles from home, and another significant portion occurs within 15 miles of home. Your local insurance agents can help you in stressful times. We invite you to contact us for an auto insurance quote. Call an agent today to discuss your coverage needs.