3 ways to prepare for a car accident before it happens

An accident can be a traumatic event but there are things people can do before one happens.

In 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 1,179 people were killed in traffic accidents throughout the state of Georgia. Just recently, The Herald-Gazette reported that a driver, who may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, hit another car near Wrens. Two of the passengers of the other vehicle were injured and the third occupant died.

While not all accidents in Athens are fatal, they can be a traumatic event in people's lives. However, there are ways that people can prepare themselves before an accident occurs to lessen the blow.

1. Make and keep an accident kit

Edmunds recommends an emergency accident kit that can help people document the scene and provide medical care. Components of an effective kit should include the following:

  • Contact numbers - in case the driver and passengers are not conscious
  • Disposable camera - many people have cameras on their cell phones but a disposable camera can help create photos of the scene and document the details.
  • Flashlight - for accidents that may happen before dawn or after dark
  • Card with any medical conditions and medication allergies - the card should have a section for each person who regularly travels in the vehicle.
  • Pen and paper - this enables people to still write down information in the event that a cellphone is destroyed or can't be found.

Additionally, people should keep a questionnaire form that helps them retain important information such as when the accident occurred, the responding police officer, weather and road conditions, witnesses and other drivers involved.

2. Evaluate insurance policy terms

Many times, people don't realize what their insurance policy will and won't cover until after they get into an accident. By then, it is too late to make adjustments. Evaluating the terms of the policy allows people to understand how much they will need to pay out of pocket before the insurance will kick in. For example, if someone decides on a $1,000 deductible, that person will need to pay that amount before anything else is covered.

Most insurance policies don't come with an automatic towing service, and those that do have a limited amount of miles. By taking the time to understand the terms of their policy, people can add towing or rental car coverage to the policy and usually, the cost is not much more.

3. Know what to say and when to keep quiet

Getting hit by another vehicle is a traumatic event and often, people make the mistake of saying things that they shouldn't. People will say that they are "okay" when asked but then later, the shock wears off and an injury surfaces. That declaration of being okay can make it harder for people to get compensation for the injury. It is best to just say, "I'm not sure" or "I'm pretty shaken." This gives them an opening in the event they later realize that they are hurt.

When speaking with an officer or anyone at the scene, people should never admit that they caused the accident. It is best to let law enforcement conduct a full investigation as there may have been other factors. People in should also immediately call a personal injury attorney in Athens who can provide them with further advice throughout the process.