Driving on Midwest roads in Winter
Believe it or not, it has been 10-months since Foremost Insurance wrote an article titled, The Weather Outside is Frightening. Yet, here we are facing tough Midwest Winter driving conditions again. Regardless of how skilled you are as a driver icy roads are next to impossible to navigate safely. There are however, ways to travel on icy roads in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and other Midwest states carefully.
First, you want to allow time for snow plows and sanding trucks to work on the roads. Then, if you absolutely have to be on the road — follow winter safety driving tips. Mahar Insurance recommends you check out the Weather Channel’s website, which offers an excellent list of safety tips for Winter driving.
As careful as you maybe be accidents happen.
According to Ury & Moscow, LLC Attorneys at Law, “Over six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. Fortunately, most of them involve only property damage – damage to the vehicle as opposed to the occupants. But one in three accidents involve personal injury to the driver or passengers and out of that number, two out of every ten accidents lead to fatal injuries.”
In other words, regardless of how careful you are there are many things out of your control, which can lead to the cause of a car / snowmobile / RV or other vehicle accident. Whether it is a patch of ice, another person unable to stop at a red light, or an obstacle on the road you cannot avoid — accidents can happen, and they happen so quickly, you might need a few minutes to figure out what in the world just what happened to you. It is natural for anyone — not just teen drivers — to be rattled right after an accident.
With That all said, what happens when despite your every effort to be safe you get into a car accident?
Hopefully you are reading this as a customer of Mahar Insurance Agency. If so, this means you are safely insured and protected after a car accident. If you do not have insurance you are going to want to speak with a lawyer. Since, Mahar Insurance Agency is not a law firm, we want to share a link to advice from an actual lawyer on “What to do after an accident?” For everyone else …
Here’s are 4 Things To Do After A Car Accident
As suggested by Liberty Mutual Insurance, the first thing you should do after an accident is:
1. Check to see if you or any of your passengers have been injured.
“Moving someone who’s unconscious can make injuries worse, so avoid this unless you have to. If you must move someone who’s injured because he or she is in a dangerous situation, make sure to keep the head and neck supported.” In addition to this advice, Progressive Insurance recommends that you “move your vehicle as far off the roadway as possible but stay at the scene of the accident. Warn oncoming traffic by activating your hazard warning lights and/or setting flares if you have them.”
2. Call 911, or the appropriate emergency response number.
For example in Cass County you would call the Police Department at (269) 782-6689. When you call the police they typically will want to know a few things, so be sure to know the answers to the following, prior to calling:
(a) Is anyone hurt?
(b) What is your exact location?
(c) How many vehicles / people are involved?
DID YOU KNOW?
If an accident happens on a state highway, even if nobody is hurt you need to call the State Police.
3. Gather unbiased facts.
Write down the name, address, phone number , license numbers and the VIN [ Vehicle Identification Number]. In fact, the VIN is more important to the insurance company than the license plate — so be sure to get the VIN number and the name of the other driver’s insurance company. Usually, the investigating police officer obtains this basic information. However, if the police do not respond to the accident, you should gather all of this information.
Furthermore, collect the telephone number of all persons involved in the accident, drivers and passengers alike. In the event there are witnesses, do not discuss the accident with them, but, you should get information from them, so that you, an insurance investigator, or possibly your attorney can contact them in the future.
4. Take pictures, draw a diagram, write what happened and what you see.
If you have a camera on your cell phone make sure you get good photos. It is important to take photos from a distance that tell a story [ i.e. both vehicle in one frame, street signs, painted road lines, etc.], as well as , up-close pictures that highlight damages. Also, if you or one of your passengers are injured take pictures of visible injuries. Consider drawing a diagram of where you are at in an intersection, or highway. Who hit whom first and where on the vehicle did impact occur. If you can draw a quick diagram showing what happened, it can help preserve your memory of the accident and help the police in determining who was at fault, even if you think you was it fault it is possible you are not. Lastly, write down things like whether the air bags deployed on either vehicle, did seatbelt work, etc.
Here are 4 Things Not To Do After A Car Accident
1. Do not freak out or admit fault.
It might be hard to do, but, you must keep calm. Keeping a calm and composed will help you stay in control of the current situation. Even if you think the car crash was your fault, it is possible that the car accident was not your fault, but, rather weather, road, and the other drivers behavior behind the wheel created the condition for you to hit them first. This is why the Chicago Automotive Locksmith represented by Mahar Insurance Agency like Safeco, Progressive, Liberty Mutual, and Foremost say that you should not admit fault or accept blame at the scene of an accident. Instead, let your insurance company investigators and the police department determine this for themselves.
2. Do not interfere with the Police Investigation
We just gave you a comprehensive outline of 4 things to do after an accident, and naturally in collecting data, gathering information, taking photos and drawing diagrams of the accident scene the Colombo or Nancy Drew within you is going to want to talk to witnesses, and possible tell the police how to do their job. We strongly recommend you refrain from interfering with the police investigation. Do what you can prior to their arrival, then, stop and continue once the police have concluded their part of the accident investigation report.
3. Do not underestimate the impact of a car accident
Even if you feel great after a car accident, you should call your doctor to schedule an appointment. There have been several cases where someone did not know they were injured until long after returning home. Do not assume you are not injuried to some capacity. If the police office asks you are you injured, the response is “I am not sure. I feel alright, but, I will schedule an appointment with my doctor to be certain”. Sometimes, due to the adrenaline rush of an accident some whiplash and muscle strain injuries do not instantly start hurting. We would be wise to call your doctor and at least get checked out.
4. Do not forget to call Mahar Insurance Agency.
In case you do not already know, Mahar Insurance is your Cass County, Michigan local insurance agency for Foremost Insurance, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Progressive Insurance, and Safeco Insurance. If you have insurance through us with one of these insurance companies, please do not hesistate to call (269) 782-8646 as soon as possible — even at the scene of the car accident. If police are on the scene, ask the officer to speak with your insurance agent; sometimes as crazy as it might seem your Mahar Insurance agent can give a more accurate report of the accident than you because they are not as upset and have a fair and unbiased viewpoint.
BONUS: What to do prior to a car accident
Before you ever get into an accident it is wise to prior yourself one.
(1) Create a road emergency kit with the following items:
- A disposable camera
- Bottled water
- Standard first aid supplies
- A Flashlight
- A warm blanket
- Jumper cables
(2) Make it easy for someone to make an emergency call on your behalf:
- Program your phone with an in-case of emergence contact, labeled ICE
- Make a list of key information and keep it in your wallet or purse, (i.e. – list any allergies you have, implanted parts, medical conditions, etc.)
(3) Before you get into an accident, talk to your local Cass County Michigan insurance agent to make sure you have the right insurance. Because the last thing you want to do when you’re in a car accident is worry about having to pay for the damage, or pay a fine for not having insurance.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you have question about your Michigan, Indiana, or Illinois Auto Insurance call (269) 782-8646. We hope you have found this blog post useful. Please share it with friends, tweet it, and feel free to leave comments on your thoughts about what to do after and not to do next — after a car accident.