An accident can happen when you least expect it. While you can take certain proactive steps to prevent an accident, these aren’t foolproof, especially since an accident isn’t necessarily always the driver’s fault. In such a scenario, certain reactive measures can help you cope with and prevent further delay in getting help. Here are the steps you need to do in case you are unfortunately involved in an accident.
What do you need
Emergency numbers (Police, Ambulance, Fire Brigade) of the state you are driving in. Having these stored on your smartphone, or having a physical copy of these in your glovebox will be of great help. Some car manuals also have emergency numbers in them.
Keep the warning triangle that comes standard with your car. It can be a lifesaver; it improves the visibility of your vehicle to others especially when your car is a road hazard.
Keep a first-aid kit. While many cars come with a first-aid-kit as standard, these are in most cases, very basic. You should keep an updated first-aid kit with medicines which could be specific to your medical conditions - if any.
Have an awareness of where you are, especially if you are driving through new roads. Keep mental notes of the villages/towns/cities that you pass through, the highway signs and the mile markers - this can be of great help after an accident if you have to tell someone where you are.
Keep 'Good Samaritan' sticker and information card in the car. A good Samaritan sticker on your windshield will let other road users know that you will help them in their time of need and that they should return the favour too.
Keep a paper with all important information regarding yourself - name, blood group type, emergency contact, etc - in the glovebox or your wallet for people to access in case you are incapacitated due to a car accident. Have multiple cards if you are travelling with others. There are also tracking apps available on your smartphone such as Trusted Contacts by Google that relay your live location. This is helpful when your near and dear ones want to know where you are.
In case your car has automatic emergency assistance system, keep them activated while driving. Many cars in India, for example the cars from Ford, have an in-built emergency assistance system in their infotainment unit - this only works if you have your phone paired to the system via Bluetooth. The system can alert emergency services nearby on its own, if you cannot.
Take deep breaths. If you are conscious, this will help you calm down. Your body has
probably gone in shock. Try to calm down as it may hamper your decision-making abilities.
Put on the hazard lamps, this is your way of letting others know that your car is a hazard. Some cars have hazard warning lights that come on automatically in case they sense they have been involved in an accident.
Check yourself. If you are conscious, it is a good sign. Check if you can move (very slowly), any broken body parts should make themselves felt with bursts of pain. If you are injured, it’s best not to move. Someone will be on their way to help you.
If you think the car can be moved to a safer location, provided the car is working, do so. Do this only if you are fit enough to drive. Take the help of someone else (co-passengers/passersby) if needed.
Check for injuries, which can vary depending on the severity of the accident. Be careful, not all injuries are visible. Some injuries can be aggravated if not handled properly - if you are unsure about something, DON'T DO IT. If you are travelling with others, get an audible 'I am okay/not okay' before proceeding to help them. If people outside your car are also involved, help them too, only after ensuring you are fit enough to do that.
Call emergency services. It is important that you let the police and the medical services know of the accident. Not calling the police may prove to be a mistake depending on the situation - they can stop/redirect traffic or stop crowding or help too. If needed, call the fire services too.
Most accidents catch even the best drivers off-guard. Hence, the best you can do is be prepared. This advice may sound extreme, but it is always good to be prepared for the worst.
Being prepared for such a contingency makes it easier to deal with the aftermath of an accident.