Car crashes are traumatic, violent and upsetting experiences. It is estimated that all people will get in at least one car crash during their driving lifetime. In fact, statistics say that individuals get in a car wreck about every 17to18 years of their life. So, if it’s been awhile since you had one…your number could be up!
To put this in perspective, think about it this way. According to one website, residents living in South Carolina have a 1/6,225 chance of dying in a car crash and a 1/3,175 chance of being involved in a fatal accident in some way. There are over 4.7 million residents living in South Carolina and, of that number, 93 percent have a driver’s license.
All of that being said, the best way to survive a car crash is NOT TO HAVE ONE in the first place! Easier said than done, we know. As our mothers once told us, the only person we can control on the road is ourselves- everyone else is a crapshoot!
So let’s break it down. Here are five ways you can avoid getting in a car crash:
1. Skip the “fast lane.”
It’s commonly known that most highway accidents on a multilane road take place in the left lane. Plus, when you drive in the left lane you have fewer “escape routes” to take in case of an emergency; middle-lane drivers can pull to the left or right if needed.
2. Look several cars ahead.
Not only do you want to pay attention to what the car right in front of you is doing, but make sure to scan even a few cars further. This leaves you more time to do a quick stop if needed, without rear-ending the vehicle in front.
3. Bust through your blind spot.
Every vehicle has a blind spot! Some are larger than others. Go out of your way to be aware of your blind spots to reduce risk!
4. Maximize your control of the wheel.
First, make sure you are driving with your hands at the 9 and three o’clock position. Then, move your seat close enough to the wheel that you can rest your wrist on top of the wheel and your back against the seat. This is the driving stance that racecar drivers take; it sets you up for maximum control for any last-minute maneuvers. You may not ever be Mario Andretti, but you can sure keep your car under control like you’re rounding the final lap at Daytona!
5. Know the limits of your car.
To put it bluntly, if you drive an old Toyota Corolla with a V4 engine, acceleration at a fast and agile pace probably isn’t your thing. If you’re two adults in a SmartCar, you’ll probably max out at 50 mph. All of these things are FINE, but,not when you drive aggressively and try to dodge and weave during fast-paced rush hour traffic. Make sure you know what your car is capable of, how fast you can brake, how much grip your tires have and how you turn corners. The more you know about how your car drives, the better you will be at reacting fast when needed. Lastly…
6. Maintain your car.
If you want your vehicle to treat you well, you have to treat it well right back. Get the maintenance done. Make sure the oil is good and your tires have tread. Little things like that can make all the difference in an accident scenario!
In addition to all of the above ideas, always do things like drive within the speed limit, be cautious when weather conditions come into play and be extra careful at night or driving through major intersections. Driving in a school zone or congested area? Drive slower than you need to in order to reduce the risk of an accident. In short, use common sense!
If a Car Accident Is Imminent, Do This…
First, we’re going to assume you are wearing your seat belt. At this point in the game, we should ALL know that seat belts dramatically reduce your chance of major bodily risk when in an accident. You won’t get knocked around or smashed through the front windshield or thrown from the car. Your seat belt can and WILL save your life. That being said, if you are right in the middle of an accident, here are a few ways to reduce damage to your body and car.
Do your best to remain calm.
This may sound a bit “Captain Obvious” to us all, but freaking out isn’t going to do you any favors when it comes to reaction time. If an accident is about to happen — breathe and stay focused, so you can do what you can to mitigate damage. Like…
Slow down. No, really. SLOW DOWN!
Speed can be the most dangerous factor working against you in an accident. If you can safely slow your vehicle down, you’ve got more of a chance of coming out unscathed. The faster you are going and the faster the other car is going = the more potential for great damage.
Aim for the softest stuff you can.
Given a choice between driving headfirst into another vehicle, or say, for example, a fence, we’d opt for the fence. Or the ditch on the side of the road. Or bushes. If you can find someplace else to maneuver your car besides smashing right into another car or a dense concrete barrier, do that instead. This requires a flash judgment call, but if you stay calm, you just might be able to make a move that saves your life and the life of anyone else in your car.
Keep control of the vehicle.
This is hard, we know. But, for example, if you start to skid… go with the skid. Don’t fight it. Don’t brake or accelerate till you can feel your tires get traction again. This is where it helps for you to be as calm as possible.
Pump it, don’t slam it!
If you don’t have antilock brakes, pump your breaks rhythmically instead of slamming down into them and forcing the brakes to lock. If your brakes lock, you have NO control in general. If you do have an antilock brake system, let it do it’s job! You’ll feel the pedal vibrate; this is normal, and it means your ABS is working.
Stay in place.
Right before the point of impact, you may feel an urge to move in your seat, hunch or duck. Don’t. Have you ever seen those videos of crash test dummies and airbags? The airbags work because they are designed for you to be in a regular driving position. If you’re in a funky position, you are more likely to be hurt by parts of your car than to be helped by them. So stay upright and let your airbags go off.
When it Comes to Surviving a Car Accident, Here’s What to Do Right AFTER the Crash
Ok. So you’ve just been in a car crash. You’re probably flipping out, which is totally normal. We understand. So let’s take the guesswork out and give you five simple steps to keep you safe.
Step 1: Call 911 for help. If your accident is anything more than a little, minor fender bender and you have your facilities in place, then call for help. Yes, you NEED to do this. And no, it doesn’t make you a baby. It makes you smart.
Stay put or get out.
This next tip depends on where your accident takes place. Depending on where your crash occurs, it may be safer for you inside the car than outside. Is there moving traffic? Do you have injuries that require you to stay still? Do a scan of the situation before getting out of the car onto a busy, multilane highway.
Turn your car off = less chance of fire.
You know what would be really bad? Your car catching on fire. So, do what you can to make sure this doesn’t happen. For all intents and purposes, this means turning off your engine (if it’s still running) and making sure neither you nor anyone else around you lights up to smoke a cigarette.
Get. Out. Of. Danger.
There are some situations where it’s obvious that you need to get out of your car. If the vehicle is on fire, for example, or if you’re sinking in water. This is when it’s time to get you and your passengers out. If your car ends up in water, as soon as you feel the vehicle hit water, get out. Open your window immediately. The more pressure there is on the car, the harder your escape will be. Consider carrying a rescue tool with you. (would like to link to the power content here)
Stay at the Scene.
Unless you are in dire need of medical help and emergency vehicles take you away, stay at the scene of the accident with your vehicle. Fleeing the scene can be labeled as a hit and run.
On the Side of the Road, Call a Car Crash Lawyer.
You know when you’ve been in a bad accident. If you’ve been in one, call an attorney right away. The bigger the accident, the more potential for drama and the more important it is for you to have an experienced attorney representing your best interests! Especially if you’re involved in a crash with a truck or commercial vehicle. Big trucking companies have even bigger insurance policies. So get the help you deserve! Call Green Law Firm at 888-800-2455 for immediate help, 24/7.
Get all the evidence you can at the scene, including contact information for witnesses, others involved and photos of the crash site with your cell phone. (link to the website page about crash evidence)
Be polite and cordial but do not accept any responsibility for the accident or discuss it with persons at the scene. Do not talk about fault or details of the accident. Say as little as possible!
Lastly, Right After an Accident Has Occurred….
If you haven’t already done so, call an attorney and get medical help. You may think your accident was minor, but sometimes injuries don’t appear for days. Get a complete checkup to make sure you’re in stable and perfect condition. Remember that insurance companies for other parties involved will do all they can to disqualify your claim and minimize the financial payout. An experienced car crash attorney like Bill Green and Green Law Firm can navigate you smoothly and efficiently through your car accident claim. We fight for your best interests and help you get the compensation you deserve to return your life to normal as soon as possible!