Living Well: Know what to do in a vehicle accident
It is likely you know someone who has been injured in a car accident, or maybe you’ve been injured yourself. There are a lot of reasons for car accidents, but the top ones include distracted driving, speeding, driving under the influence and reckless driving. Weather is also a factor, and more accidents occur on rainy and snowy days. Since we are coming into winter, now is a good time to remind ourselves to be extra aware as we drive and to know what to do if an accident occurs.
Good driving habits count
It may seem obvious, but it’s something many of us are guilty of, at least occasionaly: speeding. Follow the speed limit, and always drive slowly in residential areas, school zones, parks and parking lots. Another common cause of accidents is not paying attention to the road. Put your phone in the glovebox, or keep it in your purse, out of reach, to avoid temptation to answer a call or text while driving. If you must answer, pull over somewhere safe. If you are driving a long distance, take regular breaks. Finally, stay sober, and don’t become overly confident. Always drive defensively.
Steps to take when an accident occurs
If the unexpected happens, follow these steps, outlined by WellnessWorks of Memorial Regional Health, compliments of OSHA.
- Stop immediately. Stay calm, and pull off the road as far as possible.
- Prevent additional accidents. Turn on your four-way flashers. If you have them, set out emergency warning devices.
- Check for injuries. Check yourself, and your passengers, for injuries. Then, make sure all accident victims are OK. If help is needed, call 911 for assistance. Those who are trained in first aid procedures should provide medical assistance.
- Notify law enforcement. Report the accident. When calling 911, provide as much information as possible, including the location of the accident and the number of people and vehiclds involved.
- Document the accident. While waiting for the police to arrive, take notes about the accident. Include names, license numbers, addresses, insurance companies and other important information. Draw a simple diagram of the accident scene. Take pictures.
- Report to your insurance company. Call the number on your insurance card, and share the following information: Time and location of the accident; estimate of injuries and damage; your location and phone number; the names and addresses of everyone involved, including insurance companies; the make, model and license numbers of all vehicles involved; and the names and law enforcement agencies of the investigating officers
If you would like to schedule a safety talk on motor vehicle accidents or workplace safety for your office, group or organization, call WellnessWorks at 888-977-3319. Local representatives from Memorial Regional Health are available to give presentations.