We’re moving swiftly toward spring, but much of the country is still covered in a blanket of snow. For the people who live in these snowy areas, life doesn’t stop just because the world is swathed in white fluff, and accidents do happen. So what should you do if you wreck your car in the snow?
1. Move If Possible
If your vehicle is still mobile, the first thing you should do is move it out of the flow of traffic. Snowy and icy conditions make it more difficult for other drivers to stop, which can quickly turn a small fender bender into a massive pileup. You don’t need to move far — just get your vehicle out of the flow of traffic so that you don’t cause more accidents while you wait for emergency services to arrive.
If your vehicle can’t move, don’t get out. Another driver sliding into you after you’ve climbed out of the car is much more dangerous than another vehicle sliding into yours.
2. Assess and Contact
Step two is to assess your situation. Take a look at yourself and your passengers to find out if anyone is injured. If you are hurt, stay in your car and wait for emergency services to arrive. If it’s safe to do so, you can leave your vehicle and move around the accident site.
Collect as much information as possible about the accident, everyone involved and the location, and call emergency services. Let them know there’s been a collision if there are any injuries and where the accident occurred so that they can send help. Collect insurance and contact information from the other drivers as well.
Documenting the entire accident scene is essential. Whip out your cell phone and start taking pictures of the cars involved, the location, weather conditions and anything else that might be of use to the insurance company. Your company will send an adjuster to complete their documentation, but that can take some time, and they likely won’t come to the accident site.
4. Contact Your Insurance Company
Once emergency services has done their part and you’ve gotten your hands on the police report, it’s time to call the insurance company. Let them know you’ve been in an accident, give them all the information you have and let them take care of the rest. They might contact you for more details, but you won’t need to get in touch with the other drivers or their insurance companies directly.
5. Head to the Doctor
This is probably one of the most critical steps that you should do after an accident, but it’s one that many drivers neglect. Make a trip to your family doctor. Soft tissue injuries like whiplash are common after crashes, but it can take days or weeks for symptoms to manifest. Regardless of how bad the accident was, you should schedule a trip to see your doctor to make sure you’re not injured.
This step also makes it easier for your insurance company to tie the injuries directly to the accident. The longer you wait, the harder it is to blame your accident for whiplash or other injuries that you sustained.
No one likes to think about getting into an accident, especially in the snow, but these situations do happen. Make sure you’re prepared for anything, take pictures of everything and schedule a trip to your family doctor as soon as possible.