How to Increase Driving Safety & Steps to Take in Case of an Accident
This post was written by Scott Distasio, founder of Distasio Law firm in Tampa. His career focus is civil trial law for personal injury. For more advice like this, follow @scottdistasio on Twitter.
Navigating the public streets and highways obligates you to drive safely, but that’s not the only responsibility you assume as a motor vehicle operator. In addition to learning how to drive in a defensive manner, it’s also vital to know how to react to accidents when they do occur. This brief overview can offer tips on staying safer on the roads, while also helping guide you through the aftermath of an auto accident.
Driving Safety Tips:
1. Watch Your Blind Spots
This takes you back to your driver’s education courses when you first learned that every vehicle has blind spots. Over time, you may have forgotten this lesson, but those blind spots are still there in everything from luxury sedans to compact cars. For each vehicle you drive, taking the time to locate those blind spots can help you be more aware of dangers on the road.
2. Avoid Distracted Driving
Distracted driving consists of doing other tasks as you drive your vehicle. While this includes combing your hair, eating, or fidgeting with the radio, mobile phone use has significantly increased the number of distracted driving incidences per year. When you’re driving, all of your attention should be on the road.
3. Don’t Race Aggressive Drivers
Competing with a tailgater on the road almost guarantees an accident will occur. Instead, let tailgaters pass you and go on their way. It’s safer for you and your vehicle.
4. Be Wary of Road Signs
Especially if you’re traveling a long distance, it’s easy to pass road signs without really paying attention to them. Unfortunately, failing to see a stop sign, yield sign, or speed limit change sign are common causes of accidents. Reminding yourself to be more watchful for traffic signs will help you drive more safely.
5. Don’t Overdo It
If you’re feeling tired, pull off of the highway and get a room for the night. Driving while drowsy is a growing problem and is just as deadly as driving drunk. It’s better to stop and get the rest you need rather than risk an accident.
The Steps to Take After an Accident:
Step 1: Assess the Scene
Immediately after you’re involved in an accident, assess the scene for damages and injuries. Also, be sure to gather information about your location, such as the nearest major intersection. This will help you when you call for emergency services.
Step 2: Collect Contact Information
While you’re waiting for emergency personnel to arrive, take the time to write down the names, contact information, and insurance information from other drivers involved in the accident. Additionally, gather contact information from passengers in the vehicles and any witnesses to the accident.
Step 3: Document the Scene
You should also use your phone’s camera to document the scene. While you can use the video recorder to capture a tour of the accident scene, photos of property damage will also be useful. Be sure to get pictures of the license plates of vehicles involved in the accident, as well. This will help you in filing your insurance claim.
Step 4: Get a Medical Evaluation
Even if you feel fine, you should get a medical evaluation soon after the accident. A caregiver can identify injuries long before they begin to manifest physical symptoms. Additionally, delaying this medical exam can harm your chances for a favorable injury claim in the future.
Step 5: Consult a Personal Injury Lawyer
Once your immediate responsibilities have been met, you should consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your auto accident attorney can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and obtain a fairer settlement offer for you. In fact, most personal injury lawyers settle their cases out of court, allowing clients to receive adequate compensation much sooner.
While learning safe driving practices can reduce your chances of having an accident, it’s still important to be prepared. Knowing how to react after an accident is important because everything you do will affect the outcome of your claim. Even before you consult a personal injury attorney, your ability to react calmly and rationally will help you obtain the compensation you need to recover from the accident.