Accidents happen, even to the most cautious drivers. Most of them aren’t deadly and don’t result in permanent disability, but even relatively minor car crashes are often painful, stressful, and costly. Reacting improperly to the accident will only make the situation worse, so find out how to remain calm and use whatever tools are necessary and available to keep the situation under control.
The Importance of Remaining Calm After an Accident
As any good auto accident lawyer will note, accident victims who remain calm and take all the right steps following car crashes are more likely to see favorable results in negotiations or at court. It’s easier said than done, though, as the body’s natural response to potentially dangerous situations is to produce a surge of adrenaline. That adrenaline rush can speed reaction times but it also interferes with perception and reduces the capacity to make logical decisions.
Getting that initial adrenaline rush under control and remaining calm in the face of stress can help accident victims think more rationally and make more beneficial choices. Calm drivers are less likely to get into fights with other involved parties, which makes them less likely to say or do the wrong thing. They also remember details more accurately and are better able to assess damage to themselves or the vehicles.
Immediate Steps to Take
When the average person gets into a car accident, his or her initial response in the absence of serious injuries is usually to get out of the car immediately. Instead of rushing to get out of the car and start interacting with other drivers, take a few moments to stabilize and determine what’s going on. Pay attention to things like rapid breathing, heart rate elevation, and other signs of stress, and use that time to regain control of thoughts and feelings.
Don’t think about the future. Instead, focus on whatacc’s happening at the moment. It can help to try deep breathing exercises or other proven techniques for calming down. The most important thing right now is to remain in control.
What to Do Next
Accident victims should only get out of their vehicles to start checking on other involved parties after they’re confident in their own physical and mental states. If it’s safe to leave the vehicle, check on the other driver and/or passengers or pedestrians. It’s important to be able to give accurate information to 911 regarding the potential need for EMTs and to administer basic first aid treatment as soon as possible if someone is injured.
When interacting with other drivers, bear in mind that they may not be as good at keeping emotions under control. The only information accident victims are required to exchange with other involved parties is their names, contact numbers, and insurance information. If the other driver is obviously very angry or distressed, keep interactions to a minimum and wait until the police arrive to document the scene.
Get Legal Help
Staying calm doesn’t just help to diffuse what could be an otherwise volatile situation. It also helps people retain clearer memories, stay on top of necessary steps like gathering contact information for other drivers and documenting the scene, and prevent unintentional slip-ups that could lead to trouble with insurance claims. Even if the aftermath of the accident didn’t go exactly as planned, make a point of contacting a lawyer as soon as the dust settles to discuss how to move forward.