Even if you can’t prevent a car accident, you can be prepared for one. As unexpected emergency situations, car crashes are incredibly stressful. Thinking about what you’ll need in advance, and while in a clear state of mind, can help you make the unfortunate event a little easier.
KEEP YOUR PAPERWORK (AND PHONE) IN ORDER
Make sure you always have your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance in your vehicle. Keep your documents in a folder in your glove compartment, your wallet, or somewhere easily accessible where they won’t get lost. In an accident, you’ll likely be panicked or filled with adrenaline. As such, it is also a good idea to keep a “cheat sheet” with all the information you will need to gather from the other driver, and a space to write it down.
You may also want to highlight the claims number on your insurance documents and have the phone number of a roadside assistance service handy. In order to use these numbers, of course, your phone must be charged and accessible. Buying a car-charger is a great way to ensure you’ll always be able to call for help.
ANTICIPATE WEATHER CONDITIONS
During cold winters, it is a good idea to keep extra sweaters, blankets and coats in the car. When it’s hot out, having bottled water available can be a relief. If you drive in high-heeled shoes or sandals, it may also be a good idea to have a pair of sneakers in the car.
CREATE EMERGENCY KITS
If you crash at night, you will definitely want to have a flashlight in your glove box. This device can be used to improve visibility, signal for help, or even break a window if you become trapped in your vehicle. You may also want to consider keeping small orange cones or road flares in your trunk. If you get into an accident and are unable to move your car out of harm’s way, you can indicate the hazard to other drivers and keep yourself and others safe.
Day or night, it’s essential to have a first aid kid. In the event that someone is injured, you will want a way to help them before first responders arrive. Having basic supplies in your vehicle can help you disinfect wounds, quell bleeding, and even comfort passengers who are reacting hysterically to their injury.
ALWAYS WEAR YOUR SEATBELT
Forty-seven percent of traffic fatalities occurred while vehicle occupants were unrestrained. Wearing your seatbelt can keep you from being ejected from your vehicle, protect you from the impact of an accident, and save your life in the event of a collision.
Buckling up reduces your risk of fatal injury by 45% and cuts your risk of moderate to critical injury in half. Before you move your car, make sure everyone inside is wearing their seatbelt. If you take no other steps to prepare for a crash, always take this one.
COME BACK NEXT WEEK
Hopefully, you’ll never have to see all your preparation in action, but in the event that you do, it’s important to know how to handle a car accident as it is happening. Check back next week for Car Crash Coursework Pt. 3: Staying Cool on the Scene.