Owning a vehicle comes with great responsibility. For new drivers, the amount of things you have to learn to keep yourself and others safe is extensive. Even after years on the road, you can’t assume you’ll never get into an accident.
On average, over 6 million accidents involving vehicles happen across the US every year. It’s easy to find a list of steps to take online in this situation.
Let’s take a look at the other side and the top three most important things not to do when you’ve been involved in a collision with another car, cyclist, or pedestrian.
Leaving the Scene
Once there’s an accident, panic can set in and your flight instinct takes over. It’s critical to remember that fleeing the scene of an accident, whether minor or major, is illegal. You’ll face fines or even worse, depending on the seriousness of the injury and what caused the collision.
It’s best to remain calm, move your vehicle to a safe area if possible, and call the police.
Moving an Injured Person
Many people’s first response to an injured person during an accident is to move them out of harm’s way. While in some instances, this could be vital, it’s always best practice to leave them and secure the area instead.
Moving an injured person after an accident where a head, neck, or back injury could have occurred will only jeopardize the already risky and harmful injury. If you’ve been in a severe car accident and hit a cyclist or a pedestrian, refrain from moving them. Instead, wait for help to arrive.
Assuming it Was Your Fault
Feelings of guilt, especially if the other person was injured, can turn into second-guessing your actions. In turn, this can lead to you taking the blame for a crash that wasn’t solely your responsibility.
These feelings of accountability are even more amplified if the accident involved hitting a cyclist. It’s worth noting, however, that cyclists have the same responsibilities to follow the laws of the road as drivers do. These include stopping at red lights and stop signs, using proper signals for turning, and not going down a one-way street.
If you’re involved in a collision with a cyclist, don’t assume it’s your fault. Make sure that you know what to do and talk to an attorney as soon as possible. A specialized bicycle accident lawyer can investigate and conclude who was at fault. Get advice before you admit to anything.
Being in a car accident is a traumatic ordeal. It’s vital that you don’t panic and remember to at least do the three things discussed here. Never leave the scene, as this is illegal. Do not assist injured people by moving them, instead, wait for trained professionals to help out.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice is, do not admit fault, as this could cause issues for you later. By considering what not to do, you’ll keep yourself, and everyone else, involved out of the harm’s way and on the right side of the law.