Accidents are a situation no one wants to find themselves in. Regardless of whether you are at fault, an auto accident can be a scary and stressful moment. Because accidents are so sudden, it’s essential to be prepared for them before they take place.
In the moments after an accident, you might feel dazed, confused, or even in pain. In these critical moments, the last thing you want to worry about is being unprepared.
Law enforcement or emergency services will ask for necessary documentation and proof of insurance coverage of you after an accident. Even if you are not at fault, you must still show you were driving legally and were properly covered during the time of the accident; driving without proof of insurance could land you in hot water.
It’s important to remember no two crashes will be the same. So, while there might not be an official handbook on how to prepare for a car accident, there are steps you can take to be as prepared as possible.
Not everything to help you prepare for an auto accident is paperwork, but your paperwork and documentation may be the most crucial aspects to have on hand.
Having your driver’s license with you while driving may seem like an obvious thing; however, many people frequently leave the house without it. Often, when someone is simply running down the road to pick something up, they might feel like grabbing their license isn’t necessary.
However, this simply isn’t the case. More than half of all auto accidents happen within a 10-mile radius of home. That is an alarmingly high number, considering those short distances are the moments most people feel comfortable leaving their license behind.
Even if you are just running a quick errand, keeping your driver’s license with you is always essential. You never know what could happen, even in a short distance.
If you’re operating a vehicle, you need to have insurance coverage. While there are many different options to choose from, some form of coverage is required.
Driving without insurance can lead to a string of consequences such as expensive tickets, license suspension, and footing the bill for an auto accident. In some cases, you may be denied damage coverage for an accident that wasn’t your fault because you didn’t have your own insurance.
If you take the proper steps to cover your car, you’ll want to carry proof of your insurance. This ensures you have documentation in the case of an accident, even one that isn’t your fault.
If you’re involved in an accident, there is a chance you may not be able to speak for yourself or a family member. In this instance, it’s crucial to have medical information on hand so first responders can know what they are dealing with.
This information can be medical conditions, allergies, or medications you or your family members take. This may seem like a worst-case scenario since many auto collisions result in only minor problems such as a whiplash injury. But you never know what the outcome of an accident will be.
Most people don’t think of writing phone numbers down since almost everything is digital today. However, it’s possible your phone may be damaged or inaccessible after a collision.
Having your emergency contact information in an easily accessible location can be a huge help. First responders or medical personnel can contact your family or close friends in the event of an emergency if you can’t reach them yourself.
Documentation and paperwork are essential, but there are other valuable items you can keep in your vehicle. These could come in handy if you ever find yourself in a collision.
A first-aid kit is essential even for non-accident-related events since it can serve multiple purposes. From cleaning and caring for minor wounds to helping stop excessive bleeding until first responders arrive, first-aid kits are handy to have on hand.
Temperatures can vary, especially depending on the time of year. If you are in an accident and find yourself standing outside for long periods, extra clothes may come in handy.
Blankets may be another good option as you or your family can bundle up with them or use them to lie down if needed. They can provide warmth and comfort in case you are waiting longer than expected.
Almost every cell phone comes equipped with a flashlight feature. However, cellphones can die during important moments and can be difficult to recharge.
Keeping a flashlight on hand along with extra batteries can ensure you have some sort of light. Auto accidents are more common at night, so having a flashlight handy just in case is always a good idea.
If you find yourself in an accident on a busy street, road flares are essential. They can alert other cars to your position and encourage them to slow down when they approach.
Road flares are especially important at night when visibility is lowered, and people are less likely to see you or your vehicle. Sometimes — as horrible as it may sound — fatalities don’t come from the accident itself but instead other drivers who are going carelessly by.
Having road flares allows you to set up a perimeter around your accident location and ensures others on the road are aware of you and your position.
Some accidents are more serious than others. In these instances, you may find yourself needing a quick escape from your vehicle. Window breakers are convenient tools meant to shatter glass and allow you to exit your car quickly.
While it may seem like an extreme circumstance, window breakers can save lives and are an essential tool to keep around your vehicle just in case you need them. They are best kept within arm’s reach of your driver’s side so you can quickly grab and use them in an emergency.
Accidents can lead to some horrible side effects for your car. Sometimes, the results could be a fire. Keeping a fire extinguisher handy can be extremely useful if you find yourself at the scene of an accident and your car begins to catch fire.
While this item may seem a little out there, it comes in handy in many situations. Cat litter can provide you traction and absorbency, depending on your needs.
If you find yourself in an accident where your car went off the road and is now stuck in snow or mud, cat litter can act as traction to help you remove your vehicle and get it back on the road. Sprinkle a generous amount of litter behind each of your tires and slowly begin driving or reversing your vehicle back towards the street.
Cat litter can also help absorb any fluid spills that may be leaking out of your vehicle after an accident, such as antifreeze. Put the litter under the location of the spill, and it will begin absorbing any excessive fluid.
An accident is something no one hopes to deal with. From the worry of how long you will be without a vehicle to possible hospital stays, accidents usually don’t truly end until long after they have happened.
While they can be frightening and stressful, being prepared can help ease some of the difficulties. From important documents to handy essentials, keeping these listed items in your vehicle can ensure the aftermath of a collision doesn’t cause a bigger headache.
Alexandra Arcand writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, CarInsuranceComparison.com