It’s normal for people to feel shaken up and even a little bit panicky after a car crash. The trauma of a collision will frequently trigger a fight or flight response in the human body, flooding them with chemicals that would “ordinarily” help them fight off a predator or potentially flee a truly dangerous situation.
However, those chemicals don’t necessarily help the brain reason optimally. In fact, they often have the opposite impact on someone’s cognition. Therefore, people have the best chance of protecting themselves from unfavorable outcomes after a car crash if they already have a plan in place and don’t have to think through what steps to take immediately after a wreck. These actions are typically necessary right after a crash.
Checking everyone and calling to report the wreck
The first step people typically take after the vehicle stop moving is to check themselves and everyone else for warning signs of an injury. Then, when they know roughly what everyone’s physical condition is, they can call for medical support and to file a police report.
Documenting the crash and moving the vehicles
Before moving the vehicles to a different location to allow traffic to proceed, the motorists involved in a wreck will typically benefit from taking a moment to capture video footage or photographs of the crash scene. That evidence can be very important if a crash recreation is needed later. Once people have preserved the scene, they will then want to move their vehicles away from the flow of traffic whenever possible so that other motorists can proceed around the wreck.
Communicating effectively with police
Police officers may have a hard time getting an honest idea of what happened before or during a crash, the people at fault for wrecks often lie to try to avoid responsibility or at least omit details from what they tell the police. Someone who was not at fault for a crash will need to give as much information to the police as possible to ensure they reach the right conclusion in their police report.
Seeing a doctor
Medical attention is often necessary after a car crash, as people could have internal injuries that aren’t obvious right away. Report from a physician or hospital affirming someone’s symptoms after a wreck can make it easier for them to get compensation from the driver who caused the crash for their medical expenses in lost wages later.
Those hurt in a crash will sometimes also need to seek legal support so that they can handle a large insurance claim or prepare for a lawsuit in civil court. Knowing what steps to take after a crash before one occurs can help someone respond rationally in the wake of a wreck.