More than 6 million traffic accidents occur each year in the United States. Hopefully, you will never be involved in a car accident (because you are a careful driver), but it is always smart to know how to react in case you do end up in an accident. It doesn’t have to be your fault. There are plenty of careless drivers who don’t care about their life or other people’s lives, and also sometimes the weather conditions cause accidents, so, it is better to be prepared and to know how to deal with such situations.
Steps you need to take right after a car crash:
- Try to calm yourself down and the others
It normal to feel nervous, shocked and scared after a car crash. If you were the driver, you might even feel angry at yourself and also guilty, and that is normal too. It is hard to deal with this kind of situation and you must know that the first and best thing you can do is to calm down. The calmer you are, the better you will be at handling the situation. It will be hard to deal with a range of emotions coming at the same time so just take a deep breath and count to ten before you do anything.
- Keep yourself and others safe
After you are calm, try to analyze the seriousness of the crash. If it is a major crash and you cannot get out of your car, call 911 or any other number in your state that provides emergency assistance on roadways and wait for their help. Make sure you give them the right directions. If it is a minor accident, grab your emergency kit, get out of the car and check if anyone has any injuries. If there are no injuries, you can try moving your car to a safe spot without blocking the road but do so only if you are pretty sure that you are allowed to do it because in some states it is prohibited to move your car from the crash scene.
- Report the accident
In case of a major crash, you have to involve the police. Also, as insurance companies suggest, do not admit it was your fault at the crash scene. You never know if the crash was your fault or not, no matter if you really do believe that it was your fault. If you need to file a report check out this article about how an attorney can help in a car accident case. People deal with that kind of experience differently. Some even have difficulties getting back in the car and driving again for long time.
Tips on regaining your confidence back after a car crash:
- Start as a beginner and reeducate yourself Another way to get comfortable behind the wheel again is to reacquaint yourself with driving as if you were a total beginner. Study the driving laws once again, go extra slow, avoid distractions and stay away from your mobile phone. By being extra careful on the road, you will keep your mind busy and you will focus more on the road instead of reminding yourself about the accident. The more you practice safe and intelligent driving, the higher your confidence will be and soon you will get back to driving.
- Don’t put it off If you are still not convinced you can drive again, do it against your will – get back into the driver’s seat and allow yourself to feel the control. You don’t have to drive anywhere. Just sitting in the driver’s seat will help you more than you think.
- Do not over think what happened Over thinking the accident and replaying what happened in your mind won’t help you. Instead, talk to close friends, family and people you trust about your feelings. It can be difficult to discuss an accident, but it will help you relieve pain and get more comfortable with what happened. Ask for a counselor if you feel you need some professional help in getting over what happened.
- Take baby steps It will take time until you feel emotionally healed, so, if you are not comfortable driving yet, do not force yourself, it will not help you. Start by taking baby steps and riding as a passenger. Being on the road without having the responsibility of driving will help you get reacquainted with the feeling of being in the car and feeling safe. After you start feeling comfortable on the road as a passenger, you can try driving again. But don’t go on long trips. Start with driving short distances to familiar locations on roads you know very well and that you are comfortable with. That will help you build up your confidence.
- Do not drive alone If you think you might need some company as you are not yet ready to drive on your own, convince a friend to accompany you or hire a driving instructor. The moral support and having someone to chat to while driving will help you relax, be more confident, and keep the accident out of your mind.
- Check if you or anyone else involved in the accident has PTSD Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) signs may show up right after the crash or even weeks after the crash. If you are not sure whether you have PTSD or not, look out if you have any of these symptoms:
- You constantly feel anxious and angry
- You avoid anything that reminds you of the accident
- You constantly relive the incident in your mind and you cannot stop it
- You have nightmares and trouble sleeping at night
- You avoid any medical test or procedure after the car crash
- You have ongoing feelings of uneasiness
- You have problems driving or riding in vehicles
- You keep having a feeling that you are not connected to other people or events
You can also take the PTSD test here. If you have some or all of these symptoms after a car crash, try to talk about it with people that you trust. If you still keep having some of the symptoms a long time after the accident, ask for a professional help. Also, if you know anyone else that has the symptoms I mentioned above, try to help them as much as you can. Stay close to them and try to 0make them feel comfortable talking about their experience. If you think they need further help, convince them to get professional help.
Car crashes happen daily, and it can happen to anyone. Do not blame yourself if you have been in a car accident – it can happen to anyone. With time you will realize that the whole car crash experience has thought you to be more careful, more focused and more aware of what other drivers are doing on the road. So, try to stay as positive as you can and trust yourself. With time and practice you will be able to regain your confidence and leave the bad memories behind.