It’s always important to practice safe driving habits. Unfortunately, staying safe behind the wheel can be more difficult during certain times of years than others. Winter is a particularly treacherous season for drivers, with harsh winter weather accounting for a large number of traffic accidents each year.
You need to be prepared if you ever find yourself involved in such an accident. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean having the number of a personal injury lawyer on speed dial. If you find yourself stranded in your vehicle this winter, take these four crucial steps:
The most important thing to do after any accident is make sure you and all other occupants of the vehicle are safe. Call 911 right away if anyone needs medical attention. Then, if possible, get to a safe spot away from traffic, but don’t try to operate your vehicle if you can’t do so safely.
Remain calm throughout this. If another driver was responsible for the accident, you may feel the urge to jump out of your vehicle and start screaming at the other party. Don’t give in to this. You could accidentally put yourself in more danger if you don’t leave your car carefully. Additionally, if you confront the other driver in anger, you may escalate the situation.
Get Off the Road or Stay in Your Car
You want to try to get off the road as soon as possible after an accident. However, that may not be possible.
Don’t wait outside your vehicle on the road instead if this is the case. Put on your hazard lights, and wait in your car until help arrives. Winter conditions can make it difficult for other drivers to see you outside of your vehicle. Even if they do see you, braking is often harder to do in snow or ice. Drivers may simply not have time to stop.
Stay Visible & Comfortable
It’s important for all drivers to prepare for winter by keeping an emergency kit in the vehicle at all times. Make sure yours includes road flares and reflective triangles. Arrange them around your vehicle for maximum visibility.
Your emergency kit should also have extra clothes and blankets. Use them to keep warm as you wait for help.
It’s always necessary to call the police after being in an accident. You want an objective party on hand to record crucial information. Although you can and should get insurance and contact info from any other people involved in the collision after it occurs, you should wait for the police to arrive before discussing what happened.
Of course, any car accident is scary. That doesn’t mean it needs to be genuinely overwhelming. Ideally, you’ll never be in a winter car accident, but if you ever do find yourself in one, you’ll be glad you prepared.
Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.