Unfortunately, the risk of being involved in a car accident is high every time you leave your home in your car.  Of course, depending on where you drive and how busy it is, there is a greater risk for some people than others. Now that many people work from home, thankfully, the risk of being in an accident is lowered. If the commute to work is short and not hours long stuck in rush hour traffic, the risk is minimized.

Here are 10 popular cities and their commute times, round trip:

  1. New York, NY: 81.6 minutes
  2. Santa Clarita, CA: 69.8 minutes
  3. Chicago, IL: 69.2
  4. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC-VA: 69.2
  5. Riverside, CA: 64.2
  6. Cincinnati, OH: 49.4
  7. Las Vegas, NV: 49
  8. Albuquerque, NM: 46.8
  9. Milwaukee, WI: 46.2
  10. Salt Lake City, UT: 44.8

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 6 million car accidents happen in the United States each year. Therefore, it’s important to know what to do at the scene of a car accident, whether it’s a minor fender bender or a detrimental collision. Here are some helpful steps you can take after you’ve been involved in an accident:

  1. Assess if anyone is injured

The first priority is safety and the well-being of those involved! Don’t worry about anyone stuck behind you, they can wait. It is essential to make sure that anyone is hurt in any way. Do not hesitate to call 911 for any injury, even if it seems small. Accidents are stressful, so it is pertinent to keep calm and make sure everyone involved is ok. After assessing these needs, the next step is just as important!

  1. Get to safety

Once you’ve assessed your physical well-being, get out the road and move your car to a safe place if possible. If you are unable to drive your car to the side of the road, leave them where they are. Be careful when you get out of your car if it’s in the middle of heavy traffic!

  1. Call the police

Once the police arrive and the accident is reported, write down the officer’s name, badge number, and contact information. It is also important to receive a copy of the accident report from the officer or from the law enforcement office.

  1. Gather information

Take pictures of the accident and write down the name, address, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers of each person involved in the accident. Also, write down or take pictures of the vehicle information. You will need the year, make, model, color, license plate number, and VIN. You will also need the other person’s insurance policy number and insurance company contact information. Outside of the above information, do not share any additional personal information. If there are any witnesses that saw your accident, it would be helpful to get their contact information too if they are willing.

  1. Document everything

This part elaborates on some of part 4, gathering information. Record as much as possible on your phone. You can use pictures, videos, or even the voice memo feature. The more you document, the easier it will be with the insurance companies. Include the date, time, weather, visibility of when the accident happened. Also, include any skid marks or damages to the surrounding property. Include the direction the cars were driving, exactly where it happened, and the street names and property that was involved. All of this information is used to recreate the accident with the insurance adjuster after you report the claim.

  1. Avoid roadside discussions

Emotions and adrenaline run high after a car accident, so it is important not to get into details on what happened with the other person involved. If you were the victim of the accident, you won’t know right away what happened and why the other driver hit you. They could be impaired and dangerous for you to confront. It’s best to wait for the police to arrive to mediate the situation.

  1. Call a tow truck

Calling a tow truck depends on how damaged your car is and whether it needs to be towed to a collision repair shop or a reputable autobody shop. It is important not to assume any tow truck that shows up is reputable, always verify their information and take note of their contact information. Roadside assistance and some car manufacturers offer services to assist you in these situations. Also, the police officer might call a tow truck company for you.

  1. Stay in touch with your insurance company

After they receive all the information needed, stay organized and be your own advocate. Keep all your accident-related documents organized as you remain in contact with your adjuster, who processes your claim. Stay on top of them and have excellent communication to make sure they have everything they need from you so they can do their job well and efficiently.

  1. Go to the doctor

Even if you were involved in a minor accident, it’s still important to see your doctor. Some injuries are apparent days after it happened. You can also have serious head or spine injuries from minor impact. Obviously, if you have major injuries at the scene of the accident, you should go to the hospital right away. Don’t be afraid to call 911.

  1. Be prepared

Finally, it’s easier to remain calm at the scene of an accident if you are prepared with everything you need beforehand. Download your insurance company’s app, and designate a spot in your car with all your vehicle information. You need to include your car’s registration, proof of insurance card (if you have it on your phone, in some states, that’s ok), contact information, and a list of critical factors you need to remember at the scene of an accident.

Below is a CHECKLIST pdf download for you to keep in your car to remind you of everything you need to do after a car accident. Keep this with your car registration and insurance card as a helpful tool to minimize the stressful situation.