A car accident is a personal crisis on many levels, not only for you, but for the passengers in your vehicle, the other driver involved in the accident, and even your family and close friends. After surviving a car wreck, you may suffer physical, emotional and financial injury from an automobile accident, and, in some cases, it can take months, years, or even a lifetime to recover. Of all the things you do in your life, driving may well be one of the most dangerous things you do on a regular basis—and is probably also something you have little or no training for. After all, most of us had minimal training, other than a driver’s education course lasting a few months, prior to getting our first driver’s license.
While you may assume your years of experience in driving overcomes your lack of actual training, you, like most drivers, may not be aware of specific actions you can take to help survive a serious car accident. It is important to recognize that no matter how expensive a vehicle you own, no car can keep you completely safe in an accident. Your own driving skills afford the best chance of survival, therefore consider taking a defensive driving course. Before you take to the roadways for the upcoming Labor Day holiday, here are some tips for surviving an automobile collision:
- Always wear your seatbelt. According to the NHTSA, half of all deaths resulting from a vehicle accident could have been prevented with proper seatbelt use. Note—that is proper seatbelt use. This means both the shoulder and the lap belt straps should be snugly fitted in order to transfer the collision impact to the hip and shoulder bones—the parts of your body more able to withstand such an impact. And, while an airbag vastly increases the effectiveness of your seatbelt (by 40 percent or more), airbags were never meant to take the place of a properly worn seat belt. A shoulder harness should never be worn under your arm or behind your back as serious internal injuries could result in the event of a car collision.
- Minimize the chances that flying objects could strike you during a car collision. The University of California and Intel conducted a study which found there are, on average, 4.3 potentially dangerous loose objects within any given vehicle. These objects could include a laptop, a dog, your handbag, or even a seemingly harmless tissue box. During a collision, these objects can accelerate to a high rate of speed almost instantly, becoming potentially fatal to the driver and passengers. Imagine your laptop connecting with the back of your head at 55 mph, and you may decide to place loose objects in the trunk, or, at the very least, to loop a seatbelt through your laptop bag or handbag. Flying “objects” can also include flying passengers. If the passengers in the back seat are not wearing their seat belt, not only do they risk their own lives, but the lives of others in the vehicle as well.
- If you see the crash coming, try to avoid bracing against the impact. While it sounds counterintuitive not to brace yourself against an oncoming car, bracing can cause your limbs to break or can place your arms in the path of your airbag. Perhaps you have heard that in an accident between an impaired driver and a sober driver the sober driver is much more likely to sustain serious injury. This is because the impaired driver’s body is totally relaxed, therefore not as likely to be injured. If you attempt to “duck” out of the way of an oncoming driver, you may inadvertently move yourself out of the safety zone created by your seatbelt and your car’s airbags.
- Consider keeping a seatbelt cutter as well as a tool which can break glass in your glove box. If you were trapped in your car following a car collision, these tools could save your life.
- Carry a comprehensive first aid kit in your trunk or glove box. Hopefully you will never need the first aid kit, but if you do, you will be glad you thought ahead.
- Assess your situation before you exit your vehicle following a collision. Determine whether it is safe to get out of your car based on moving traffic or other hazards nearby. If it is safe to do so, leave your car, moving to a safe distance until the ambulance and police arrive. If your vehicle is in the middle of the road, jeopardizing oncoming traffic and it is possible to safely move it to the side of the road, do so. Otherwise, leave the damaged vehicle where it is and get yourself to a safe location.
Further Reading: Deadly Car Seat Mistakes – Mom, You’re Doing it Wrong!
While you have little control over the other drivers on the road, you can ensure you drive defensively and that you do not engage in any type of distracted driving such as talking, texting, changing radio stations, eating, attempting to read a map, looking in the back seat to see what the kids are doing, or even daydreaming.
Contact Our Denver Car Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love have been injured in a car accident, it is important to speak to an attorney immediately. Contact the Denver car accident law firm of Fuicelli & Lee, PC, for a free case evaluation. You pay nothing unless you receive a financial settlement or award. Call our office at 303-355-7202 or fill out our confidential contact form.