What to do if You’re in a Wreck

College is a time for firsts for many people. Unfortunately, this can also include first car accidents. This is unfortunate, but with busy college town roads and thousands of people with little driving experience it is likely to happen. Thankfully knowing what to do can save you a lot of heartache in the event of a crash.

From the moment you are hit (or hit the other vehicle) you should assess if your vehicle is still in working condition and if you are physically able to move it. If so then you should go ahead and move your vehicle into the nearest parking lot or on to the side of the road. Police are trained to assess vehicular accidents even if the vehicles have been moved, so you are not going to interfere with the police officer. If you cannot move the vehicle or are seriously injured then stay where you are and call 911.

If you have moved the vehicle out of the street then go ahead and assess yourself. Are you okay? Is anything broken? Does your head or neck hurt? If so, just go ahead and stay where you are. Call 911 and let them know that you need the police and medical help. If you believe that you are physically fine then go ahead and exit the vehicle. Look at the damage for just a second and then speak with the other party involved. Ask if they are okay first. If they are then go ahead and discuss what you want to do. If it is a minor wreck, there is no serious damage other than the bodies of the vehicles, and one person will admit guilt then you can go ahead and exchange driver’s license and insurance information. Go ahead and write down their license plate numbers. If all of these conditions are not met then go ahead and call the police. They can show up , make a report, and issue any citations such as red light tickets. They will ask each party questions about what happened. Answer them honestly.

If you feel like you may be seriously injured then take the ambulance ride to the hospital. Call a trusted friend first to empty your car of any valuables and have the car towed if the damage renders your car immobile. If you are hurt and the car can be driven you can ask them to drive it to a safe place for you.

Go ahead and call your parents now. Let them know what happened and that you are okay. Have them call the insurance company. No offense, but they have probably dealt with the situation before and are probably in a better state of mind to handle these kinds of things right now than you are.

Your vehicle will need to be assessed for damage at this point. If it has to be towed away then you will need to get a ride to the towing company’s yard in the next few days and sign off on your vehicle being moved to an approved mechanic. If it is driveable then you can take it to the shop to have the damage estimated. Other times an insurance adjuster from the other person’s insurance company will come evaluate the damage and cut you a check for the damage if the damage is minor. While your vehicle is in the shop you should be able to get a rental car through the car insurance. Get it, but go ahead and pay for damage insurance in case something happens to the rental.

Hopefully you will never need any of this advice. It is a good idea to prepare yourself for the possibility of a crash, like any other emergency you might run into now that you are on your own.