While I was driving the other day, I witnessed a young girl hit a deer. Before I could even pull over to see if she was okay, I noticed she was on the phone – most likely calling her parents (one of the positive uses for cell phones!). After I assessed she was only shook up – not injured – and knew her parents were on the way, I headed back out onto the road. As I continued my drive, I thought about her great presence of mind to pull over immediately and then call for help…all the while striving to remain calm despite being visibly (and understandably) shaken.
Knowing what to do should you be involved in a car accident is the key to staying calm. So, what are those steps? I posed that question to one of my favorite insurance agents. Here is what he told me:
- STOP immediately – but do not obstruct traffic.
- ASSIST the injured – have someone call the police; repeat the call after 5 minutes.
- SECURE the names, phone numbers, and addresses of other drivers, witnesses, and/or injured persons.
- SECURE the make, model, and license numbers of all cars involved.
- SKETCH rough drawings of the scene, showing position of cars and other details.
- DON’T hastily accept claim settlements at the scene of the accident.
- REMAIN calm, courteous, and consistent in your version of the accident.
- NOTIFY your insurance agent as soon as possible.
Many insurance companies are making it easier to report a claim from the scene of an accident through innovative cell phone applications. Erie Insurance is one such company. You can download this application from iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/erie-insurance-mobile/id401074286?mt=8. The application enables you to file a claim, contact local emergency assistance, and much more! Call your agent to find out if your insurance company provides this service.
While none of us want to think about it actually happening to us, we can be involved in an automobile accident at any time. Should we be so unfortunate, keeping our composure and following the above recommendations can prevent a bad situation from being worse. It’s always best to, like the Boy Scouts say, “Be Prepared!”