The minutes following a car accident are often full of shock and uncertainty. You may find yourself racked with guilt and struggling to make sense of what happened.

While it is normal to feel shocked after a car accident, the last thing you want to do is react impulsively or make hasty decisions that could compromise your safety or eligibility to recover compensation. Instead, you need to stay calm and take the necessary steps to ensure your safety and protect your right to compensation.

This article explores what you need to do to stay calm after a car accident and the steps you should take to protect yourself.

How to Keep Your Cool If You’re Involved in a Car Accident

Control Your Breathing

Focusing on your breathing is a helpful way to regain control during a tense situation like a car accident. Ideally, you should slowly breathe in through your nose, hold your breath for a moment, and exhale through your mouth.

Taking deep breaths allows you to relax and focus on something else other than the situation at hand. It also provides you with the additional oxygen you need to cope with the emotional and physical stress of the accident.

Take Some Time in Your Car

Though your instincts might direct you to rush out of your car, looking for a safer spot, it is always a good idea to remain in the vehicle for some time as you gather your thoughts.

While still in the car, assess the situation to determine what to do next. Find out if you have severe injuries that may make it hard to move and if your vehicle is in a safe place, such as away from the highway.

Focus Only on the Current Moment

After an accident, it’s normal to start thinking about the future. You may worry about how the accident will impact your health and if you will be able to cover the costs of your injuries or car damage.

Worrying about the future immediately after a car accident only adds to your stress, making it difficult to make rational decisions to solve the current situation. The best thing you can do is try to find solutions for the present moment and save all other thoughts for later.

Crucial Steps to Take After a Car Accident

While staying cool and collected after a car accident is essential, you must take the right steps to ensure your safety. Besides ensuring safety, taking the right steps can be an excellent way to maximize the chances of a positive outcome, especially if you intend to pursue compensation.

1. Check for Injuries

Whether the accident was severe or not, you must check to confirm if you and other passengers have sustained any injuries. Even minor fender benders can cause broken bones and other wounds, so you will want to be thorough.

If you or any of your passengers have been injured, call for medical assistance promptly. However, unless you have trained first aid skills, never attempt to move an injured person, as it could cause more injuries.

2. Move Your Car to a Safe Location

If the accident happened in the middle of the highway, the right thing to do is to move your car to the roadside once you calm down. Leaving your vehicle on the road could pose a significant hazard to other motorists and obstruct traffic.

In case your vehicle is so badly damaged that it cannot move, do your best to get out as safely as possible and wait for help to arrive from a safe spot.

3. Report the Accident

Once you are in a safe spot, you should call 911 or ask someone else to do it on your behalf. While on call, ensure you give the dispatcher your name, the location of the accident, and details about your vehicle.

Besides bringing the police to document the accident, calling 911 will bring the emergency response team to check your injuries and take you to the hospital.

4. Contact an Experienced Attorney

Regardless of who you think is to blame for the accident, it’s always a good idea to contact a law firm with experienced attorneys in auto accident claims to help you understand your options and legal rights. A skilled lawyer can assess your situation and guide you through the legal process, ensuring your rights are not violated.

If you decide to file a compensation claim for your injuries, an attorney can handle all aspects of your claim. These include evidence preparation, settlement negotiations, and even representing you in court to ensure you receive the maximum compensation.

5.   Document the Accident Scene

Besides contacting your lawyer, you must gather as much evidence as possible. Ideally, use your smartphone to take pictures of the accident scene, showing any physical injuries and damage to both vehicles.

You should also note down information about the witnesses, including their names, address, and contact information. More importantly, don’t forget to collect the other driver’s information, including their name, contact details, insurance information, and vehicle details.