Accidents often occur suddenly and cause fear and confusion for the injured party. Many accidents are preventable by taking certain precautionary measures. Still, if you are involved in an accident, you can take specific steps to protect yourself and possibly reduce the damage done. With advice from personal injury attorney Nick Martin, this article reviews what to do before and after an accident.

Precautions before an accident:

  • Hands-free phone: It is best not to use a phone while driving. If you must use your phone, use a hands-free device that does not distract you while driving. Georgia law O.C.G.A. Sec. 40-6-241 now requires drivers to use hands-free devices to use cell phones while driving.
  • Slow down: Fast speeds tend to cause more damage and reduce the driver’s time to react. Always be mindful of weather and road conditions when driving. Driving slower in the rain, snow, or bad road conditions is important.
  • Newer Models Vehicles are Safer: Vehicle manufacturers regularly improve vehicle safety features. If you can afford additional safety features, you should purchase them.
  • Defensive Driving: Take a defensive driving course to help familiarize yourself with common dangers on the roadway. Most insurance companies offer a discount if you take a defensive driving course. The Georgia Dept. of Driver’s Services (DDS) has a state-approved listing of courses.
  • Wear a seatbelt: Wearing a seatbelt can dramatically decrease the risk of serious injury or death during a car accident.
  • Secure potential projectiles: Loose items in your vehicle can be extremely dangerous during an accident. Placing items in a vehicle’s trunk or properly securing a load can help prevent injuries during an accident.

During an accident:

  • Avoid Bracing for Impact: It is important to try and remain calm and not tense up during impact. Tensing your legs against the floor or extending your arms fully against a seat or dashboard can cause severe injuries.
  • Avoid Sudden Movements: While it is natural to make evasive maneuvers during an accident, try to avoid sudden braking and quick, sharp turns. All vehicles respond best to smooth steering and braking.
  • Rely on Modern Safety Features: Modern anti-lock braking systems (ABS) generally rely on automated break pumping to help slow or stop a vehicle. Keep your arms and legs in the typical seated position and allow your airbags to deploy as designed. Modern airbags and crumple zones are designed to protect the passenger in the normal seated position during an accident.
  • Avoid Secondary Collisions: If your vehicle is still drivable, move your car from busy travel lanes. On the contrary, if your vehicle is inoperable, exit with extreme caution so you are not struck by other vehicles.

After the accident:

  • Call 911 and Treat Your Injuries: The sooner rescue personnel arrive, the quicker injured persons can receive treatment. Medical professionals can better assess injuries, so it is best to have them come as soon as possible.
  • Move from the Roadway: If possible, move away from the accident scene. Accidents are obstructions to normal moving traffic. If there is heavy traffic, wait for emergency personnel to help get you to safety.
  • Get a Report Number or Exchange Information:  If police come to the accident scene, get the accident report number. However, if the police do not come to the location, remember to exchange contact and insurance information. Photographing the other driver’s license, insurance card, and license plate are probably best.
  • Take Photographs: Once you’ve reached a safe location, take photographs of the scene and your vehicle. Take pictures of any injuries you may have sustained.
  • Contact an Attorney: Before speaking to your insurance company or giving any statement, contact an attorney.

Conclusion

If you are ever in an accident, remember these tips for what to do before and after an accident to protect yourself. Most importantly, contact the law office of  Nicholas P. Martin to get what you’re owed. Please call 404-382-5424, fill out our inquiry form online, or email us (nickmartinlaw@newtoatlanta.com). Nick is the advocate you deserve and will fight for you to get your due.