Involved in a Distracted Driving Accident? Follow These 10 Steps.
The U.S. Department of Transportation, with help from the NHTSA and the NTSB, dedicates the month of April to raising awareness around accidents involving distracted driving. This month has been no different. In fact, this month marked the third year in a row that the USDOT launched a nationwide campaign focused on distracted driving called “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.”
But texting isn’t the only distraction available for drivers on the road. Distractions stem from numerous sources, including:
- Cell phones
- Navigation systems
- Infotainment systems
- Passengers and pets
- Food and beverages
These distractions, along with others such as putting on makeup or reading a newspaper, cause 16 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle accidents. In 2014, that amounted to 3,179 deaths and injuries to approximately 431,000 individuals.
We are here to ask you today to avoid distracted driving. Put down the phone and #justdrive.
We are also here to provide you with a little bit of help should you find yourself involved in a car accident, distracted driving-related or otherwise.
10 Steps to Take After a Car Accident
If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an auto accident, follow this simple checklist to help you best prepare for interactions with the other party, your lawyer and the insurance companies:
- Move your vehicle to a safe place. If your accident occurred in the middle of the road, do your best to move to the shoulder so as to avoid further damage or injuries.
- Assess everyone’s wellbeing. If anyone is injured on any level, be sure to call for an ambulance. The most important thing is to ensure that everyone gets appropriate medical care.
- Call the police. You will want a police report drafted up for your accident, even if you think the property damage is fairly limited.
- Do not apologize. Whether you feel it was your fault or not, do not apologize. Do not say anything that presumes guilt on any level. If you do, it can come back to haunt you later on down the road.
- Exchange personal information with the other driver. Provide each other with names, phone numbers, addresses, insurance companies and policy numbers.
- Take notes. Write down information about the cars, including VIN numbers. Write down everything you remember immediately before the accident and everything you can remember that happened during the crash itself.
- Take pictures. Pull out your cell phone and take pictures. Capture images of both vehicles and the surrounding area.
- Talk to witnesses. If anyone stops, ask them if they witnessed what happened. If they did, ask them for their contact information.
- Call your insurance company. You need to report your accident to your insurance company immediately. At this time, do not give a statement. Instead, just say an accident occurred and provide the other party’s contact and insurance information.
- Call your attorney. Before you make any statements to your insurance company or the other driver’s company, talk to your attorney. Your attorney can advise you as to how to respond to questions from insurance adjusters and can let you know which settlement offers you should accept, if any.
Want to learn more about distracted driving and what you can do to put an end to these accidents? Read our latest newsletter!
Source: USDOT, Traffic Safety Facts: Research Note (April 2016)