Be Prepared in Case You Get in a Car Accident
Car crash statistics show that if you drive, the chances are that you will, at some point, be in an auto accident. In fact, the car insurance industry estimates that during an average driving lifetime, you are likely to have three or four accidents. In light of these statistics, the need to prepare for a car accident takes on a new importance. So what are some things you can do to be ready for a car accident, before it happens?
Assess your auto insurance coverage. Find out the details of your auto insurance coverage. Do you know how much you are insured for? Do you know the amount of your deductible? Are you aware if you have liability and comprehensive coverage? Do you have uninsured motorist or personal injury protection? Will your insurance cover a rental car while your own is being repaired? All these are questions you want to answer before a crash. Discuss your auto insurance policy with your provider, and make sure you understand just what coverage you can count on.
Use Safety Features. Most newer cars are equipped with numerous devices to improve your chances of staying safe, such as airbags, seat belt warnings, and open door alerts. For the best chance of preventing injury in a car crash, don’t ignore these safety features. For example, a seat belt does no good if you don’t use it, and a small child should not be in a seat with an airbag.
Get Tech Savvy. Using GPS technology, you can build additional safety into your car. Automatic crash response systems such as Onstar are great safety features to consider. (When your car is hit, Onstar uses GPS to pinpoint where you are, and the Onstar operators can send emergency responders to help, if necessary).
Smart phones are another way technology can help you prepare for a crash. There are now applications, such as the Auto Accident App, that can be amazingly helpful tools. The apps can function as a crash alert devices (much like Onstar), and can also do much more. An app can help you create an accident report (including pictures), and lead you through a series of questions to ensure you gather all the information needed at the scene of an accident (such as the other driver’s name and license, car registration and insurance information).
You can also use your smart phone to keep a file of all your own information, such as your driver’s license details, license plate number, auto and health insurance, and physician’s information. Or, even simpler, you can snap photos of your personal documents (license, insurance card, etc.) and create a file to store all the information in one place.
To make this technology even better, with a quick email, any and all of this information can be distributed to your insurance company, the police station, or to whoever else might need it.
Keep Information Handy. Even if you don’t own a smart phone, you should collect and keep all the information you’d need in the event of a crash on hand. Collect your own identification and insurance details in one file, and keep it in your glove box. Include a checklist in the file, to remind you of all the information you need to collect from the other driver. Also, include a contact list of people that should be notified if you are injured.
Drive Safely and Defensively. Truly the best preparation is to attempt to prevent a crash to begin with, by safe, defensive driving. There are many things you can do to make sure you are driving safe. Periodically check your vision and hearing. Of course, never drive if your reflexes are impaired by drinking, drug use or lack of sleep. Check the weather, and prepare accordingly (for example, have a set of snow chains and an ice scraper in your trunk, or an extra set of windshield wipers and a gallon of window washing fluid). Also, make sure your windows and mirrors are unobstructed. Although it’s important to be prepared for a crash, it’s much better to avoid one!