No one ever expects to be in a road accident, but the fact is that they happen all too often. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported this month that traffic accidents caused 42,915 deaths in 2021. That is the highest in 16 years. It is crucial for everyone to be prepared. This article will outline how you can protect yourself to minimize the risk of road accidents and what you must do if ever you are involved in one.
Prior Protection Against Road Accidents
Two things you must do to protect yourself are to learn how to drive safely and to get adequate auto insurance.
Drive Defensively and Safely
The best way to protect yourself against road accidents is to be a defensive driver. That means you must drive in a way that anticipates the actions of other drivers and be prepared to react accordingly. You must allow enough distance between your vehicle and others to give you leeway in reacting.
Defensive driving also means obeying all traffic laws and avoiding distractions while driving. You must not use your mobile phone, eat, drink, or do anything else. In addition, always wear your seat belt and drive within speed limits. Distracted driving, not wearing a seat belt, and speeding are the most common bad driving habits that make the roads dangerous.
Finally, make sure your vehicle is properly maintained. Check it before driving. Ensure that you have a dashboard camera installed. That will provide valuable information in case of an accident. Ensure that you have a powerful lamp that is always fully charged in case you need it by the roadside at night. These are all simple steps that can greatly reduce your risk of being involved in a road accident.
Get Auto Insurance
It is crucial to get auto insurance before driving. It will protect you financially if ever you are involved in an accident. Your insurance will cover damages to your vehicle, your medical expenses, as well as your liabilities to other parties.
There are different types of auto insurance, so make sure to get the one that best suits your needs. For example, liability insurance covers damages to other people and their property if you are at fault in an accident. You must have this type of insurance in most states.
Other types of auto insurance include:
- collision insurance, covering damage to your vehicle
- comprehensive insurance, covering everything from theft to natural disasters
- personal injury protection (PIP), covering medical expenses
- protection against another driver who is uninsured or under-insured
It is best to get as much insurance coverage as you can.
Take note that when something happens and you need to claim insurance, many insurance companies will try to low-ball you. Do not let this happen. Hire a bad faith insurance lawyer if the insurance company refuses to pay you what you are owed or delays payment. Your lawyer will help you get the full compensation you are entitled to. Have the contact information of your lawyer with you always.
What To Do in a Road Accident and Afterward
If you, unfortunately, find yourself in a road accident, these are the things you must do.
First, stay calm. Check if you have injuries. If you are not injured, check if others are injured. If anyone is injured, call 911 and the police immediately.
If your vehicle is obstructing the road, take photos immediately before moving it. Ensure that you take photos from all sides and angles. Then, if you can move your vehicle, drive it to the roadside and turn on your hazard lights.
Call your lawyer and give your location. Exchange insurance information with the other driver but refrain from discussing who was at fault. Do not admit fault or sign anything until you have consulted with your lawyer.
Do not leave the scene until the police have arrived and have released you. If you leave without permission you may later be charged with a hit-and-run.
File a police report and notify your insurance company as soon as possible. If you are hurt, take photos of your injuries and gather all medical records and bills. You will need these to claim insurance against your insurer or the other party’s insurer.
Keep Yourself Protected and Prepared
Road accidents are unfortunately all too common. It is a very stressful event. But if you take the proper precautions and know what to do, it does not have to be a nightmare.
Drive safely, get auto insurance, and if ever you are involved in an accident, follow the steps outlined above. With a little preparation, you can minimize the risk of being involved in a road accident and maximize your chances of coming out of one unscathed.