Today I had a car accident. Luckily a minor one.
Thank God, it was just a bigger graze to the bumper for my beloved Skoda. With the other man, it was a bigger dent in the passenger door.
All in all not that bad but all of this made me want to write an article dedicated to these kinds of situations.
Mainly because I think I learned how to properly react after a car accident and I want to share it with you.
It wasn’t always that way like that so here’s what I’ve learned and hopefully it will help you in a similar situation.
If you find the time visit us on our YouTube channel where you can watch all kinds of videos that will help you around the car.
HOW TO REACT AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT?
Before we start, I would just like to say, as a disclaimer, that all of this advice comes from my personal experience.
It comes only from what I’ve seen and been through over the years driving in all kinds of traffic.
Also, what is described here is just a minor accident with no consequences but financial and material ones.
Real car crashes with more serious consequences are a whole different kind of situation and are dealt with differently. These are not the topics here although some things from here can be applied.
So, please take all of this as friendly advice from one driver to another, nothing more.
So, here we go:
1. STAY CALM AND ASSESS THE SITUATION
I’ll take the mentioned accident as a good example. Here’s what happened: I went with my kids to the local bakery to get some pastry just like many times before.
I parked behind a Ford S Max at a safe distance, minding my own business. Out of the blue, the man driving the Ford sits into the car and in a very hasty manner, starts going into reverse while making a sharp left turn.
It seems to me he didn’t even take a glance at what was behind him.
The next thing you know, BAMMM! He hits me with his passenger side doors and severely grazes my bumper.
This is a very good example of one of the most common types of car accidents.
The first question once this happens is what to do next.
Well, first of all, if in any way possible stay calm and get a grasp of the situation.
Yes, the natural response is surprise, shock, fear, and oftentimes anger (depending on the personality).
But first, try to let the surprise and shock pass and vent it out as soon as possible.
Then try to control the fear with the intent to get it out of your system completely.
Finally, if in any way humanly possible, don’t get angry.
Take a deep breath (this helps trust me). Quickly accept what happened, check if everybody is OK, get out of the car, and take a look at what happened.
2. AVOID ANGER AND AGGRESSION AT ALL COST
Easier said than done. Especially if you like your car, cherish it or you’ve spitten out a ton of money to buy it.
Anger, which usually comes out of fear of a sudden bad situation occurring is very dangerous.
In car accidents, anger is like pouring gasoline onto to fire that just started. Things can only get worse.
Also now this: anger, in a tense situation, turns into violence in a heartbeat.
At this point, it’s also important to assess the other participant in the accident. The stance, behavior, and the overall reaction.
Yes, it may seem overwhelming to do all this, but if you make a good assessment of what you’re dealing with, you’ve already solved most of the future problems trust me.
This may sound corny and lame, but it is your duty to react without anger and try to stay calm in control of the situation.
Even if the other driver is reacting like a jerk (which is also pretty common), distance yourself from anger and especially from any kind of violence.
If the other driver is aggressive, best not to confront him/her. The best advice I can give you is to make some distance and even lock yourself in the car if you have to.
Even if you can successfully defend yourself, you never know how things might unfold. A minor car accident can easily turn into a court case because of an overgrown ego.
So, get rid of the anger and be the real hero by trying to control and defuse the whole situation.
If you have problems, with the other driver, keep a distance until the police arrive.
For more information on anger, mainly about road rage, click here to read an article dedicated specifically to that topic.
3. CALL THE POLICE
Speaking about the police call the moment you get the chance.
No need to explain why you should do this: this procedure is the law in most countries worldwide, and police have to be present after a car accident.
Also, it’s the starting point for regulating insurance policies and matters for future repairs.
When they arrive, let the police officers do their job, be helpful as much as you can, and do what they tell you because they have vast experience regulating these situations.
They will document what happened and give you some guidelines on what to do next regarding the legal stuff and other matters.
Besides this, if you’re not able to, you can ask them to call a tow service or mechanic to help around the cars.
One more good thing about law enforcement: if there is any violence involved like we mentioned, they will probably help defuse the situation and solve it.
4. TRY TO PART IN A CIVILIZED MANNER
Once the police have done their job and everything is legally processed, it’s time for everybody to go their own way.
If the cars can still be safely driven, there’s nothing else to do but leave and wait for the legal outcome and for the possible repairs.
At this point, I would like to mention one important thing. If possible part with the other driver in a good and kind manner.
Perhaps another corny thing written, but from personal experience, you wouldn’t believe how much better it feels when everything is finished in a civilized manner.
When all the dust settles, when emotions evaporate, and all the anxiety, anger, and fear are gone, you can even have a nice chat with the other driver provided he/she is a normal person.
Don’t get me wrong. If you’re dealing with someone who is violent and has anger issues, get out of there as soon as the police are gone or even better while they are still there.
With this kind of people, there is no making friends and you never know what to expect.
One more good thing about parting in a civilized way. You can exchange phone numbers and stay in touch in case some more information is needed to resolve the whole situation. This is beneficial to both sides, especially regarding legal and insurance matters.
Also, the financial aspect of everything is solved much easier. An agreement is much easier to make without hostilities.
So, in the end, if possible, exchange phone numbers, and any documents needed regarding the accident, wish the other driver all the best, and say you’ll be in touch.
This is much better than waving hands, cursing, saying things you don’t really mean, and above all, doing things you might regret in the near future.
5. GO AND DO SOMETHING NICE FOR YOURSELF
When you read this part you’ll probably start laughing. But heck this is from experience and I would like to share it with you.
Let’s be honest, after car accidents most drivers are shaken up by the whole situation. Besides this, they are worrying about the material damage and whether it will set you back a serious amount of money.
Not to mention the loss of time, and inconvenience because you may be left without a car for some time, etc.
These worries double if you have an emotional attachment to your car which is a real thing for lots of drivers.
All in all, it seems you have much to worry about. Or do you?
I was a good example of the worrying guy in the past.
For instance, despite the fact that I didn’t cause the car accident, I would dwell on the whole thing. I would think about what happened, could I have done something to avoid it, and so on.
These feelings are especially strong if you caused the accident but that is a whole different story.
Do you know what the truth is? All of those thoughts are UTTERLY USELESS!! This goes double and triple if you’re not the one who caused the accident.
All these thoughts do is badly affect your health which is in fact the biggest damage.
So how to prevent this?
One simple yet very effective rule for a car accident: keep your mind off of the whole thing and do something nice for yourself.
If you have a hobby, go and do it, if you like music, go and listen to it. Go and exercise if you like it. Spend some time with your family. Go for a walk. Go spend time with good friends and laugh.
Laughter is by far the best additional remedy, I must say.
Just do not sit around and bully yourself with common questions like: „Why me, why did this happen, why didn’t I stay at home“ and other useless questions.
Yes, this part is also easier said than done but just try it and you’ll see the magic happening.
Shifting focus to something else, and at least briefly forgetting about the whole thing for a certain period of time has huge healing properties, trust me.
For the end remember one important thing and remember it in big neon shining letters:
ALL IS WELL WHEN EVERYBODY WALKS AWAY SAFE AND SOUND!!!
Yes, cars and property are valuable of course. But they are all worthless compared to human lives and well-being.
This is hard to comprehend, especially in this materialistically oriented world. Nevertheless, it is the truth and always will be regarding any situation of this sort.
Also, know this: car accidents happen and this is just the way things go.
It even happens to the most careful and cautious people. The sooner you recognize this as a fact of life the better things will be.
Accidents happen and there’s nothing you can do about it.
But what you can do is to react properly to them and try to make the best of everything, if in any way possible.
Otherwise, if go down the aggressive way, you’re bound to be sorry for your actions. Not to mention that solving the whole situation will be much harder.
Thank you, dear reader, for getting to this point and reading this friendly advice. Once again, from the bottom of my heart, I hope it helps you.
I wish you clear roads, happy driving, and above all good health.
Written by: Sibin Spasojevic
Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com