A car accident can be a traumatic experience, especially if you're not properly prepared to react in the moment. Whether it's a minor fender-bender or a serious collision, an accident is enough to shake anyone up and cause potential injuries. Making sure all parties are safe and remain safe in the wake of accidents is of utmost importance, and understanding how to respond is crucial. Keep in mind that not only is the accident itself dangerous, but also that exiting your car on the side of the road comes with its own set of risks.
Therefore, having a personal automotive kit is necessary for two major reasons: Most importantly, having a comprehensive cache of first aid supplies in your vehicle allows you to address injuries in an emergency situation on the road, such as a car accident. Secondly, having access to reflective triangles, flares and a flashlight allows you to safely illuminate yourself and warn other drivers of your presence. This is especially relevant when you are stuck on the shoulder of the road or in a high-traffic area. Alerting other drivers of your presence can help ensure your personal safety and signal to passersby to veer away from the site of the accident.
If you are capable of doing so, your first step after a car accident should be to call 911. Police and emergency medical personnel will be able to help you sort out the details of the accident and make sure no one is seriously injured. In the moment, the adrenaline may cause you to believe you're fine when in fact an injury is more serious than you think. The Department of Motor Vehicles recommends seeing a doctor immediately, and that hours or days after an accident passengers may experience dizziness, pain, numbness or other discomfort.
Create a safe environment
In some situations, you may not easily be able to safely move your vehicle to the side of the road. If your hazard lights are working, Tufts University recommends turning them on as soon as possible to alert other drivers to slow down. If possible, use flares or reflective triangles found in your personal automotive kit to further warn others on the road. The flashlight in your personal automotive kit will come in handy at nighttime for checking passengers for visible injuries and illuminating damaged areas of your vehicle. Moreover, a flashlight serves as an additional means of revealing your location to passing drivers.
Once you have made the scene as safe as possible, check all of the passengers for injuries. Again, be cognizant that not all injuries may be visible right away and that any injuries that require care beyond basic first aid should be done by a medical professional. Car first aid kits come equipped with burn cream, gauze, bandages and even motion sickness tablets so you can address minor injuries after an accident occurs. Many kits also include an accident report form, which should be filled out as soon as possible. In minor collisions, the DMV advises taking detailed photos and notes in order to increase the likelihood of getting full reimbursement from your insurance company.