Good experience Law Lifestyle

The Do’s and Don’ts of Being Involved in a Car Accident

Written by Jimmy Rustling

Living through a car accident can be a traumatic experience, no matter how minor that car accident was. By learning the common causes for a car accident, along with how to prevent an accident in the first place, you can become a better driver. However, car accidents are unavoidable in some cases. In the event a wreck occurs, it’s important to understand what you should and shouldn’t do during the accident.

Common Causes for a Car Accident

The best way to avoid a car accident is to learn how to spot an accident before it ever occurs. To that end, it’s important to identify the common causes of car accidents so that you know what to keep an eye out for. Most notably, car accidents are caused by:

  • Speeding or reckless driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or another drug
  • Driving while distracted, such as using a cellphone
  • Driving while drowsy
  • Driving during poor weather conditions
  • Road hazards that cause erratic driving

While all of the above are some of the most common causes, one of the biggest reasons car accidents occur is due to human error itself. Even the best drivers can make mistakes that lead to an accident, which is why being a defensive driver is so important.

How to Prevent a Car Accident

Understanding the most common causes for a car accident is only half the battle. Learning how to prevent a car accident in the first place is the second fight. Keep some of the following tips in mind in order to increase your odds of preventing a car accident:

  1. Avoid driving at night when there is a higher risk of being drowsy
  2. If you have had anything to drink, even a small amount, don’t get behind the wheel
  3. Keep the number of passengers in your vehicle on the lower side
  4. Only check your cellphone for emergency purposes
  5. Handle preventative maintenance on your vehicle to prevent breakdowns in the future
  6. Scan the road around 12 seconds ahead of your vehicle to spot any road hazards
  7. Leave plenty of space between yourself and the cars around you

Effective Do’s and Don’ts to Remember in a Car Accident

In some cases, avoiding a car accident is not possible and a wreck will still occur. When this occurs, it’s important to gather and preserve evidence in a jackknife accident case, or other type of wreck, to ensure that you aren’t legally held responsible for something that wasn’t your fault.


1. Contact the authorities to inform them of what occurred

Even if there are no injuries during the car accident, it’s best to call the authorities and inform them that a wreck occurred. There may be debris in the road that can pose a hazard to other drivers, or the police may want to write up a report on what happened to be thorough.

2. Inspect yourself for any injuries you might have sustained

The first thing any driver should do after being involved in a wreck is to check themselves and others for injuries. Car accidents, no matter how minor, can lead to injuries that can become larger problems, so it’s best to visit your doctor shortly after a car accident, even if you don’t have symptoms.

3. Get all vehicles out of the roadway if possible

When vehicles are damaged in an accident, they pose a hazard to other drivers who are coming on the road. If your vehicle is operational, get it to the side of the road as fast as possible following the accident.

4. Exchange information with the other driver

Trade insurance information with the other driver(s) involved and take a photo of their driver’s license so that you can contact them if need be. This will help to ensure you can get a claim paid for and all damages on your vehicle repaired.

5. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle(s)

While not common, some people may try to claim that they didn’t cause damage to your vehicle when they hit it. If you haven’t taken photos at the time of the accident, proving that they did cause the damage after the fact can be a challenge.


1. Leave the scene unless there is an absolute emergency

There are very few situations where it’s acceptable to leave the scene of an accident after it occurs. In a worst-case scenario, at least provide the other driver with all contact and insurance information and give a credible reason for the emergency departure.

2. React with strong negative emotion towards the other driver(s) involved

It can be easy to lash out at any driver who caused a car accident and any potential injury you suffered. However, this will likely only make matters worse, so try to refrain from speaking with the other driver extensively if you can’t control your emotions.

3. Forget to inform your car insurance company

To get the damage fixed on your vehicle, you need to inform your insurance company that an accident occurred so they can be expecting a claim. Simply give them a call and say that an accident occurred, but don’t give them extensive details at that current point in time.

4. Forget to collect information from the other driver

If you do not get the license plate, driver’s license, or insurance from the other driver after an accident, there is no guarantee you can track them down.

5. Lie about what happened after the fact

If a car accident is your fault, do not try and lie about what has happened in an attempt to avoid legal or financial responsibility. Be truthful in what occurred when speaking with your insurance company.

Keep yourself both physically and legally protected after an accident

After an accident occurs, it’s natural to feel strong emotions, especially if you weren’t the one who caused the wreck. However, avoid reacting strongly towards the other driver as this can lead to more problems. Contact the authorities and document any damage to the vehicles involved so that you can swiftly handle the issue.

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About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.